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Full text of "A working conference on the union of American Methodism"

THE JOHN RICHARD LINDGREN FOUNDATION 

FOR THE PROMOTION OF INTERNATIONAL 
PEACE AND CHRISTIAN UNITY 



A Working Conference on the 
Union of American Methodism 



TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND THURSDAY 

FEBRUARY FIFTEEN, SIXTEEN, AND SEVENTEEN 

NINETEEN HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN 



HARRIS HALL, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY 

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS 




THE METHODIST BOOK CONCERN 
NEW YORK /. CINCINNATI 



COMMITTEE OF ADMINISTRATION 

President Abram W- Harris, Chairman 

Professor James A. James, Secretary 

Mrs. John R. Lindgren 

Mr. William A. Peterson 

Dr. Henry C. Mabie 

Professor Frederick C. Eiselen 

ADVISORY COMMITTEE 

Bishop William F. McDowell 
Dean Thomas F. Holgate 

President Charles M. Stuart 
Professor Amos W Patten 
The Rev. Timothy P Frost 




linois, February 15-17, 1916. 



FOEEWOED 

The John E. Lindgren Foundation of Northwestern Uni- 
versity was established April 1, 1909, by John E. Lindgren, of 
Evanston, a Trustee of the University and its Treasurer. The 
Fund is held by the University, but the expenditure of the 
income is controlled by a Committee of Direction which is self- 
perpetuating. The members of the Committee designated in 
Mr. Lindgren's deed of gift were, the Eev. Charles J. Little, 
late President of Garrett Biblical Institute; Abram W Harris, 
President of Northwestern University; Mr. John E. Lindgren; 
Mr. Helge A. Haugan, of Chicago; Eev. Henry C. Mabie, of 
Boston. As at present constituted, the Committee consists of, 
Abram W Harris, Mrs. John E. Lindgren, Eev. Henry C. 
Mabie, Mt. William A. Peterson, of Chicago, and Professor 
Frederick C. Eiselen, of Garrett Biblical Institute. Professor 
J. A. James, of Northwestern University, is the Secretary. 

The purpose of the Fund as fixed by the donor is, the Promo- 
tion of International Peace and Interdenominational Harmony. 
The Committee at its first meeting decided to seek the ends- 
of the Foundation, by the general methods of investigation and 
education; for several years, the Foundation offered to students 
throughout the country prizes for discussions of the problems 
of international peace. But the Committee had it in mind to 
serve the cause of interdenominational harmony when oppor- 
tunity offered. 

The negotiations for the reunion of the Methodist Churches 
in the United States, action taken by the last General Con- 
ference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the ap- 
proach of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, which will receive and consider the action of the Church 
South, suggested the desirability of making Methodist union the 
topic for the work of this year. The Committee, with the aid of 



iv FOREWORD 

an Advisory Committee consisting of Bishop William F. Mc- 
Dowell, President Charles M. Stuart of Garrett Biblical Insti- 
tute, Dean Thomas F. Holgate, Professor Amos W Patten, and 
the Rev. Timothy P Frost, called a conference of representatives 
of the several Methodist Churches in the United States. This 
conference was described as a "working conference" to indicate 
that it was not the controlling purpose of the gathering to 
adopt resolutions, to carry on negotiations, or to appeal to 
public sentiment; but that it was its purpose to gather into a 
clear, impartial and scholarly statement the facts and con- 
siderations relating to union, in the hope of helping to a wise 
decision those bodies and persons whose duty it will be to act 
officially. On request, President Stuart prepared the original 
outline of the program. The selection of those who presented 
papers was based upon wide advice, and was made without re- 
gard to personal views upon reunion. The first consideration 
in every case was the desire to obtain a clear, scholarly, and 
unprejudiced presentation of facts. In addition to the con- 
tributors, a limited number of persons were invited to partici- 
pate in the discussions, but effort was used to prevent the con- 
ference becoming in any sense a mass meeting. What the con- 
ference did is completely shown in the following report. No 
paper was missing, the purpose and character of the meeting 
were observed by the contributors, and the result was extremely 
gratifying to the Committee of Direction. 

This report is put forth with the devout hope that it may 
promote the welfare of the Churches and help to make them a 
greater power for good. 

Abram W Harris, 
Chairman of the Committee of Direction. 

Evanston, Illinois, March 10, 1916. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Proceedings of the Conference. .... . . 1 

Call to Prayer for Methodist Unity . . 11 

The History of the Various Separations. John A. Faulkner. . 15 

The History of the Agitation for Union. William W. Sweet. 31 

Methodist Union in Great Britain and Canada. S. D. Chown. 59 

A Review of the Existing Situation ...... 69 

Earl Cranston. 71 

Collins Denny- .. .. 83 

The Problem: Sectional Characteristics.. 101 

James W. Lee. . .... . . 103 

Mr. Hanf ord Crawford . 115 

Church Polity 131 

W. Asbury Christian. . . . . .... 133 

David G. Downey. .. .. ,.. 141 

Doctrine and Ritual. .. .. 157 

Wilbur P. Tillett.. ...... 159 

J. W. E. Bowen. .. 175 

Church Discipline 189 

Fitzgerald S. Parker . . 191 

J. A. Johnson ... . . . . 204 

John W. Hamilton . . 208 

The Negro. .. .. .... 221 

Robert E. Jones. .... .. .. 223 

Henry N. Snyder .... .... . . 236 

Wilbur P. Thirkield .... 246 

L. J. Coppin. . . . . 263 

Work on Foreign Fields . . 271 

Eugene R. Hendrix. . . .... . . . 273 

John F. Goucher .. .. .... 283 

Work on Home Fields . . . 301 

Claudius B. Spencer. .. , 303 

Thomas N. Ivey. . .... .... 312 

Dr. I. Garland Penn .... . . 324 

Property Holdings. M. L. Walton . . . . . 335 

Connectional Enterprises. Thomas Nicholson... 347 



vi TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

The Comparative Values of Federation and Organic Union.. 373 
Charles M. Bishop . .... . . 375 

C. H. Phillips. .. .. .. ..389 

Francis J. McConnell. . . 395 

A Suggested Working Plan for Methodist Union. . 409 

John M. Moore. . . . .... 411 

Alexander Walters. .. 428 

Edgar Blake.. .. ..436 

The Dynamic of a United Methodism. 447 

G. W. Clinton. .. .... 449 

T. H. Lewis. .. 459 

Frank M. Thomas. ..469 

Plan of Unification Proposed by the Joint Commission . . 479 
Extemporaneous Discussions. .. .. 483 

Bibliography . . 559 



INDEX OF SPEAKEES 

Bishop, Chaeles M., 

President of Southwestern University, Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South. 
Blake, Edgar, 

Secretary of Board of Sunday Schools, Methodist Episcopal 
Church. 
Bo wen, J. W E., 

Gammon Theological Seminary, Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Chown, S. D., 

General Superintendent, Methodist Church of Canada. 
Christian, W. Asbury, 

Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
Clinton, G. W., 

Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. 
Coppin, L. J., 

Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Cranston, Earl, 

Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Crawford, Hanford, 

Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Denny, Collins, 

Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
Downey, David G., 

Book Editor, Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Faulkner, John A., 

Drew Theological Seminary, Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Goucher, John F., 

Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Hamilton, John W., 

Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Hendrix, Eugene R., 

Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

Ivey, Thomas N., 

Editor Christian Advocate, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

Johnson, J. A., 

Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 



viii INDEX OF SPEAKERS 

Jones, Robert E., 

Editor Southwestern Christian Advocate, Methodist Episcopal 
Church. 

Lee, James W., 

Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
Lewis, Thomas H., 

President of Western Maryland College, Methodist Protestant 
Church. 

McConnell, Francis J., 

Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
McDowell, William F., 

Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Moore, John M., 

Secretary of Department of Home Missions, Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South. 

Nicholson, Thomas, 

Secretary of Board of Education, Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Parker, Fitzgerald S., 

General Secretary of the Epworth League, Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South. 
Penn, I. Garland, 

Secretary of Freedmen's Aid Society, Methodist Episcopal 
Church. 
Phillips, C. H., 

Bishop of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Snyder, Henry N., 

President of Wofford College, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
Spencer, Claudius B., 

Editor Central Christian Advocate, Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Sweet, William H., 

DePauw University, Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Thirkleld, Wilbur P., 

Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Thomas, Frank M., 

Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
Tillett, Wilbur F., 

Vanderbilt University, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

Walters, Alexander, 

Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. 
Walton, M. L., 

Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 



PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONFERENCE 



PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONFERENCE ON THE 
UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 

Tuesday Moening, Febeuary 15 

The conference convened on Tuesday morning, February the 
fifteenth, at nine-thirty o'clock, in Harris Hall, Northwestern 
University, called to order by President Abram W- Harris, 
LL.D., chairman of the Committee of Administration. 

Bishop William F. McDowell conducted the morning wor- 
ship, reading, as a scripture lesson, from the Epistle to the 
Philippians. Prayers were offered by Bishop Hendrix, of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and by the Reverend J. J. 
Wallace, D.D., Editor of the Pittsburgh Christian Advocate. 

President Harris, after welcoming to Evanston and to the 
University those who had come to attend or to participate in 
the conference, spoke briefly on the history and purposes of 
the John Richard Lindgren Foundation, with words of appre- 
ciation for the man who established it. 

Miss Minnie R. Terry was appointed to act as secretary for 
the conference. 

The program of the morning consisted of the following 
papers: "The History of the Various Separations," John A. 
Faulkner, D.D.; "The History of the Agitation for Union," 
William W Sweet, D.D.; "Methodist Union in Great Britain 
and Canada," S. D. Chown, D.D.; "The Problem: Property 
Holdings," The Honorable M. L. Walton. 

The last half -hour of the session was given to a general dis- 
cussion, opened by Bishop Earl Cranston of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, who was followed first by Bishop E. R. Hendrix 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and then by Presi- 
dent T. H. Lewis, of the Methodist Protestant Church. Bishop 

McDowell closed the discussion and moved that, after a short 

3 



4 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

season of praj'er, the conference should adjourn to convene 
again at two-thirty in the afternoon. 

The closing prayers were offered by the Reverend Wilbur 
F. Tillett, D.D., of Vanderbilt University and by the Reverend 
Herbert F. Fisk, D.D., of Northwestern University. 

Tuesday Afteknoon 

The conference was called to order at two-thirty o'clock by 
President Edwin A. Schell of Iowa Wesleyan University, with 
the singing of the hymn — "A charge to keep I have." 

Prayer was offered by the Reverend Charles Bayard Mitchell, 
D.D., pastor of Saint James Methodist Episcopal Church, Chi- 
cago, followed by another hymn — "I love thy Church, God." 

The program of the afternoon was as follows : "The Problem : 
Sectional Characteristics," James W Lee, D.D.; Mr. Hanford 
Crawford. "The Problem: Church Polity," W- Asbury Chris- 
tian, D.D. ; David G. Downey, D.D. 

A discussion followed the first two papers, participated in by 
President Abram W Harris, the Reverend Thomas Nicholson, 
D.D., Bishop Earl Cranston and Bishop E. R. Hendrix. 

The session closed with a devotional service, opening with the 
hymn — "Faith of our Fathers." Prayers were offered by the 
Reverend John M. Moore, D.D., of Nashville, Tenn., and by the 
Reverend W- S. Bovard, of the Methodist Brotherhood. 

The benediction was pronounced by Bishop Collins Denny. 

Tuesday Evening 

The evening session was held in Annie 31 ay Swift Hall, the 
Reverend A. B. Storms, D.D., of Indianapolis, Indiana, pre- 
siding. 

After the opening hymn, "A charge to keep I have," the 
Reverend L. F. W Lesemann, D.D. of Chicago, read a selection 
from the eighteenth chapter of Matthew and offered prayer. 

The program was as follows: "A Review of the Existing 
Situation," Bishop Earl Cranston, D.D. ; Bishop Collins Denny ; 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 5 

"The Problem : Work on Foreign Mission Felds," Bishop E. R. 
Hendrix, D.D. 

A closing prayer was offered by President C. M. Bishop of 
Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas. 

The benediction was pronounced by Bishop E. R. Hendrix. 

Wednesday Mokning, Februaky 16 

The conference was called to order at nine o'clock by the 
Reverend S. D. Chown, D.D. of Toronto, Ontario. 

The morning worship was conducted by the Reverend John 
Thompson, D.D., Superintendent of Home Missions and Church 
Extension, Chicago. After the singing of a hymn — "Blest 
be the tie that binds," Dr. Thompson read a selection from 
the Scriptures and offered prayer. A second prayer was offered 
by the Reverend W. A. Christian, D.D., of Richmond, Virginia. 

The program was as follows: "The Problem: Doctrine and 
Ritual," Wilbur F. Tillett, D.D. ; J. W E. Bowen, Ph.D. ; "The 
Problem: Church Discipline," Fitzgerald S. Parker, D.D.; 
Bishop J. A. Johnson, D.D. ; Bishop John W Hamilton, D.D. 

These topics were discussed by Bishop Collins Denny ; Bishop 
Earl Cranston; Professor J. A. Faulkner; the Reverend Fitz- 
gerald S. Parker; Mr. Hanford Crawford; Professor W F. 
Tillett; Bishop W F. McDowell. 

The session closed with prayer by Bishop E. R. Hendrix. 

Wednesday Afternoon 

The session opened at two-forty-five o'clock, Bishop Alexander 
Walters, D.D., of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 
presiding. 

After the opening hymn — "A charge to keep I have," 
prayers were offered by Professor D. A. Hayes, D. D., of Gar- 
rett Biblical Institute, and by President T. H. Lewis of West- 
ern Maryland College. 

The program was as follows: "The Problem: Work on For- 
eign Felds," John F. Goucher, D.D.; "The Problem: Work on 



6 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Home Fields/' Claudius B. Spencer, D.D.; Thomas N. Ivey, 
D.D.; I Garland Penn, D.D. 

Dr. Goucher was unable to be present in person and the paper 
which he had prepared was read by Bishop Earl Cranston. 

At the close of the program, Bishop E. R. Hendrix of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, read a call to prayer signed 
by the senior bishop or representative of each of the seven Meth- 
odist bodies represented in the conference, calling upon all 
Methodists throughout the country to pray unceasingly for 
Christian Unity among the sons of Wesley. He moved that this 
call to prayer be unanimously sanctioned by a rising vote. 

After some little discussion as to the most satisfactory 
wording, a few changes were made and the motion was unan- 
imously carried. President Harris was asked to have a num- 
ber of copies of this call to prayer printed. 

The session adjourned with prayer by Bishop W- P Thir- 
kield. 

Wednesday Evening 

This session of the conference had been planned to be a 
popular meeting and was therefore held in the First Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 

Bishop E. R. Hendrix, D.D., of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, presided. 

After an opening hymn, "The Church's One Foundation," 
prayer was offered by Bishop Earl Cranston, D.D. 

Bishop William F. McDowell opened the program by giving 
a brief account of the establishment and purpose of the John 
Richard Lindgren Foundation and its relation to the present 
conference. 

The resolution adopted in the afternoon, calling upon all 
Methodists to pray for the union of the various branches of the 
church, was read by Bishop Hendrix. 

The topic of the evening was — "The Dynamic of a United 
Methodism." Papers on this subject were presented by Bishop 
G. W- Clinton, D.D., of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion 
Church, the Reverend T. H. Lewis, D.D., of the Methodist 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM ? 

Protestant Church, and the Reverend Frank M. Thomas, D.D., 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

As a closing hymn, the audience sang "Blest be the tie that 
binds," and the benediction was pronounced by the Reverend 
Timothy P Frost, D.D., pastor of the First Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, Evanston. 

Thursday Morning, February 17 

The conference was called to order at nine o'clock. Dr. 
James R. Joy, Editor of the New York Christian Advocate, 
presided and opened the session by reading the sixty-fifth Psalm. 
Prayers were offered by Professor Amos W Patten, D.D., of 
Northwestern University and by the Reverend David G. Downey, 
D.D. 

The program of the morning was as follows : "The Problem : 
Connectional Enterprises," Thomas Nicholson, D.D.; "The 
Comparative Values of Federation and Organic Union," Charles 
M. Bishop, D.D.; Bishop C. H. Phillips, D.D.; Bishop Francis 
J. McConnell, D.D. 

Dr. James Cannon, of Richmond, Virginia, who was to have 
been the second speaker on the subject of Connectional Enter- 
prises, was prevented from being present by very important 
duties connected with temperance legislation in the State of 
Virginia. The extra time was given to Dr. Nicholson, who sup- 
plemented his paper by the use of stereopticon slides, present- 
ing in this way a valuable series of statistical charts bearing 
upon the question. 

Bishop C. S. Smith, of the African Methodist Episcopal 
Church, who was to have spoken on the subject of The Com- 
parative Values of Federation and Organic Union, was also 
prevented from being present and his place on the program was 
taken by Bishop C. H. Phillips of the Colored Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. 

Bishop McConnell, though unable to be present, sent a paper 
which was read by President Stuart of Garrett Biblical Insti- 
tute. 



8 A WOKKING CONFEEENCE ON THE 

A motion was made that, in order to accommodate those wish- 
ing to leave the city by night trains, the supper hour be at 5 :45 
and the hour for the evening session be moved forward to seven 
o'clock. This motion was seconded and unanimously carried. 

In the discussion of the papers the speakers were : Dr. Charles 
M. Stuart; Bishop Collins Denny; Bishop Earl Cranston; 
Bishop E. E. Hendrix; Dr. S. D. Chown. 

The session closed with the benediction, pronounced by 
Bishop E. E. Hendrix. 

Thursday Afternoon 

The members of the conference, having been invited to take 
lunch at the University Club, as the guests of Mr. J. C. Shaffer 
of Evanston, the afternoon session did not convene until 2:45 
o'clock. Bishop Collins Denny, of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, presided. The session opened with the singing 
of a hymn — "Children of the Heavenly King, As we Journey 
let us sing." Dr. W. F. Sheridan, Secretary of the Epworth 
League of the Methodist Episcopal Church, offered prayer. 
Bishop Denny read a selection from the seventh chapter of 
Matthew. A second prayer was offered by the Eeverend Frank 
M. Thomas, D.D., of Louisville, Ky. 

The whole of this session was given to the discussion of one 
aspect of the general problem — "The Negro." Papers on this 
subject were presented by Bobert E. Jones, D.D.; Henry N. 
Snyder, Ph.D.; Bishop Wilbur P Thirkield, D.D.; Bishop L. J. 
Coppin, D.D. 

The usual period of discussion followed the program, the 
speakers being: Dr. W F. Sheridan; Professor W- F. Tillett; 
President Charles M. Stuart. 

The session closed with the benediction, pronounced by Bishop 
Thirkield. 

Thursday Evening 

The conference was called to order at seven o'clock by Presi- 
dent Harris of Northwestern University. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 9 

Professor W F. Tillett, D.D., read as a Scripture lesson the 
twelfth chapter of the Epistle to the Eomans. Prayers were 
offered by Dr. F. S. Parker, of Nashville, Tenn., and by Dr. 
W. J. Davidson, of Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, Illinois. 
The topic for the evening was— "A Suggested Working Plan 
for Methodist Union," papers on this subject being presented 
by John M. Moore, D.D., Bishop Alexander Walters, D.D.; 
Edgar Blake, D.D. 

A period of discussion followed, in which the following 
speakers participated: Claudius B. Spencer, D.D.; Charles M. 
Bishop, D.D. ; W Asbury Christian, D.D. ; Fitzgerald S. Parker, 
D.D.; Bishop G. W Clinton, D.D.; Bishop C. H. Phillips, D.D.; 
Bishop W. F. McDowell, D.D. 

As the hour for adjournment drew near, Dr. Thomas Nichol- 
son moved that "we express to Northwestern University and the 
Lindgren Trust and to all who have ministered to our enter- 
tainment here, our cordial and heartfelt thanks for our recep- 
tion and the splendid way this meeting has been carried out;" 
and moved that this appreciation be expressed by a rising vote. 
In seconding this motion, Dr. W F. Tillett also spoke with 
appreciation of the hospitality of Northwestern University and 
of Evanston, and added some words to the general discussions 
which had preceded. 

The motion was put and carried unanimously by a rising vote. 
President Harris, as chairman of the committee of adminis- 
tration of the Lindgren Foundation, expressed the thanks of the 
committee to the members of the conference for the valuable 
service they had rendered to the committee and to the cause of 
Methodist Unity. After expressing his own gratification at the 
trend of the conference, and his firm conviction that the move- 
ment for union would ultimately triumph, President Harris 
asked that the conference repeat together the Lord's Prayer. 

The benediction was pronounced by the Eeverend F. S. 
Parker and the conference adjourned. 



CALL TO PRAYER FOR METHODIST 

UNITY 



CALL TO PRAYER FOR METHODIST UNITY 

Resolution unanimously adopted by the Conference on the 
Union of American Methodism, held at Northwestern Uni- 
versity, Evanston, Illinois, February 15th to 17th, 1916, under 
the auspices of the John Richard Lindgren Foundation for the 
Promotion of International Peace and Christian Unity : 

The John R. Lindgren Foundation, in the interest of International 
Peace and Christian Unity, bears a double title. The founder was a 
notable lover of peace and he deemed that international peace might 
and would come before Christian Unity. He desired, therefore, that 
his foundation should continue to serve the ends of Christian Unity 
even after international peace had become an accomplished fact. 
Little did he or any other philanthropist believe that man would so 
cease to be a rational being that the first quarter of the twentieth 
century would witness almost world-wide war, involving nearly all 
the great Christian nations, and that in hatred and savage cruelty, 
enormous loss of life and immense loss of property, it should stand 
without a parallel in all the centuries of man's existence on this 
planet. Men's hearts have begun to fail them because of fear, the 
slain are numbered by millions and the wounded and hopelessly 
maimed and captured by countless other millions. The hopes of 
international peace seem bankrupt as the grave economic conditions 
blind men to the appalling disasters which are certain to attend 
the continuance of international war now involving soldiers from 
all five continents. 

The Hague tribunal established by these very nations is an ap- 
parent failure and the noble Palace of Peace stands idle and empty. 
Men's hopes of international peace are blasted. The world is in 
despair. Civilization is halted and Christianity dishonored and 
disparaged. Men ask, is God no longer a God of peace? Is the 
god of war to overthrow the kingdom of the Prince of Peace? If the 
Church of Christ fails to restore the spirit of brotherhood in the 
world, then may we despair of the race. 

We are therefore doubly called to consider the question of Chris- 
tian Unity in the interest of international peace itself. The brother- 
hood of man is at stake as well as belief in the fatherhood of God. 

13 



14 A WORKING CONFERENCE 

We face the vital question of Christian Unity in the largest com- 
munion of Christians in the New World. Able and candid discus- 
sions have shown that there are no insuperable barriers to Christian 
Union, provided the spirit of Christian Unity becomes a passion 
among us. Only the elemental fires can give final shape to the 
continents and fuse the metals in the rocks. Only divine fires can 
make the true superman superior to hate and bloody strife. 

We, who have signed our names to this paper, members of 
churches bearing many names, claiming no authority but that 
we are Methodists, in the trust that we are moved of God, do 
summon all Methodists everywhere in our broad land to be much 
in importunate prayer and intercession for the gracious blessing 
of God upon all our efforts to see eye to eye in the all-vital 
matter of Christian Unity, to the end that we may be all one, 
that the world may know that the Prince of Peace is come from 
God and binds us back to God. If our efforts fail now, who 
dare foretell when they can ever succeed, while a divided Church 
continues in a hopeless struggle to bring the lost world to God? 
Methodists of the continent, pray, pray everywhere, pray 
without ceasing, for Christian Unity among the sons of Wesley, 
for, as a great Congregationalist leader has well warned us, 
"As goes Methodism, so goes America." 

Eugene R. Hendiux. 

Eael Cranston. 

Thos. H. Lewis. 

S. D. Chown. 

J. L. Coppin. 

G. W- Clinton. 

C. H. Phillips. 



THE HISTORY OF THE VARIOUS 
SEPARATIONS 

PROFESSOR JOHN ALFRED FAULKNER, D.D., 
Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, New Jersey 



THE HISTOEY OF THE VARIOUS SEPARATIONS 
Professor John Alfred Faulkner, D.D. 

To preserve a historic impartiality in the seething waters of 
the fierce debates which accompanied and followed the separate 
formation of Methodist denominations within the last hun- 
dred years or more is not easy to a partisan, but it ought not 
to be difficult to a historian. The passions of those times have 
long since subsided, and it ought not to be difficult to get at the 
facts of events so recent judged by the long space of history, 
and to tell them candidly as they were. This at least I shall 
try to do. 

What was the historical background to the formation of the 
Methodist Protestant Church? Everybody knows that Wesley 
was the dominating factor in English Methodism. He ap- 
pointed, dismissed and controlled the preachers. Though he 
held annual conferences of these preachers in 1744 and after, 
and though they had a perfect right to speak their views, they 
had no legislative rights whatever. Wesley was the Conference. 
His will was law. When he appointed Rankin and Asbury his 
Assistants in America, they were to have the same rights here 
(of course under him) that he had in England. In 1784 the 
Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. Asbury believed 
that Wesley was too far away to wisely exercise any more power 
in America, and though the new Church promised to be under 
Wesley still as to polity, henceforth practically no more atten- 
tion was paid to him. In this new Church what was the con- 
dition? (1) The appointment of preachers was absolutely in 
the hands of the superintendent. Any other recourse was denied 
in 1792. (2) The superintendents still dominated the Con- 
ferences, both Annual and General. Asbury and Coke marked 
out beforehand what business should be done and what should 
not. After it was done, they revised the Discipline to suit 

17 



18 A WOEKING CONFEEENCE ON THE 

themselves, the Wesley tradition being too strong for what 
little republican methods were allowed. On their own motion, 
for instance, they left out in 1786 the Descent into Hell (Hades) 
which Wesley sent over in 1784, they changed superintendent 
into bishop in 1787, and they frequently remodeled the Dis- 
cipline as they desired, and often exercised a real or practical 
veto on the measures of the preachers. (3) They ordained not 
all the preachers, and only these ordained preachers were given 
such rights as were allowed. The local preachers were regular 
itinerants, but had no powers in the Conference. (4) The 
superintendents inherited Wesley's prejudice against any legis- 
lative rights of laymen, and of course none were granted in the 
church. 

Over against this clericalism and autocracy which came to 
them consecrated in names so highly honored as Wesley and 
Asbury, facts of another tenor had also been working which 
belong to the historic background. Some of the ministers by 
no means shared this High or Catholic conception of prerog- 
ative. Even McKendree, in the frankness of his early min- 
istry before honors came to him, said distinctly that such a con- 
dition was an "insult to my understanding, an arbitrary stretch 
of power so despotic that I will not submit to it." When 
Asbury felt it wiser to associate certain elders with himself in 
the Council that was to fix up legislation for the Conferences, 
even this tempering of his initiative created such widespread 
dissatisfaction as having the appearance of a small coterie gov- 
erning the church that he abandoned it. And when in 1792 
O'Kelly introduced his famous resolution to give a right of 
appeal from a bishop's appointment, many of the ablest and 
most consecrated of the preachers supported him. Then, again, 
the leaven of freedom had been working ever since the Declara- 
tion of Independence and especially since the foundation of the 
national government in 1789. Though everybody knew that 
a church was different from a state, yet men could not help 
asking the question whether that freedom which was such a 
blessing in worldly government should be under the ban in 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 19 

ecclesiastical. Once more, contemporary events in England 
had been calling men's minds to similar questions. The cir- 
cumstances that led to the organization of the Methodist New- 
Connection in 1797 and which had been going on since Wesley's 
death in 1791 could not have left unaffected serious minds in 
America. Could not some of the same abatements of extreme 
clerical rule, which were realized in monarchical England under 
Kilham only by a new church, be realized in Republican America 
by the old church? Such was the historical background of the 
Methodist Protestant movement. 

Perhaps the first step in this movement was the reaction felt 
against what was believed the influence of McKendree and 
Soule in ultimately defeating the resolution of the General Con- 
ference in 1820 passed by a large majority instituting a kind of 
elective presiding eldership. This and other events connected 
with it seemed to sanction the idea that the bishops were the 
supreme interpreters of the laws of the General Conference to 
which they were not amenable, an idea which bore sway until it 
was broken by the General Conference of 1844 suspending 
Andrew. The ultimate defeat of the elective eldership caused 
searchings of heart in many minds. The second step was the 
defeat in 1820 of the proposition to allow a representation of 
local preachers in the General Conference. They were three 
times as many as the pastors, a large number had themselves 
been pastors (some ordained) until compelled to locate for ill 
health, poverty, marriage, etc. They had largely founded Meth- 
odism in America, and their entire lack of legislative rights 
seemed anomalous if not unfair. Their petition was denied, 
but a privilege they did not ask for was granted them, namely, 
of composing a district conference which alone should have the 
supervision over them, the right to make them and to recom- 
mend them to travel. But with a strange fatality, this trying 
to quell their dissatisfaction only created another in the laity. 
For in handing this sop to the local preachers the clergy of the 
General Conference of 1820 robbed Peter to pay Paul, that is, 
they took away from the laymen in the quarterly conference 



20 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

what little power they had had to start the local traveling 
preachers on their way. A third step was the founding of The 
Wesleyan Repository in 1821 by a pious and cultured layman, 
William S. Stockton, father of the preacher and poet Thomas 
S. Stockton and of the man of letters Frank R. Stockton. This 
was published for three years (Trenton 1821, Philadelphia, 
1822-'23) and had a considerable influence toward a more demo- 
cratic policy. Here Stockton came out with powerful articles 
in favor of lay representation, and other men gathered around 
him in similar causes. His magazine gave voice and volume to 
the movement — a movement which was now striving for three 
reforms, the election of presiding elders, the representation of 
local preachers and of laymen in the General Conference. The 
first public meeting was held in Cincinnati in 1823 which issued 
a powerful circular published by Stockton. The general de- 
mands were reinforced by dissatisfaction caused by arbitrary 
actions of preachers in turning members out without trial. 
Able men like Alfred Griffith, Beverly Waugh, and John 
Emory were reformers in that early time, though some of them 
retraced their steps through various influences later. The Epis- 
copal Address of 1824 made no sign of concession but advised 
the appointment of a committee to "answer such memorials as 
may be presented," and they were presented in large numbers. 
This was followed in due course by the appointment of such a 
committee by the bishop, and every member of it was an enemy 
of lay delegation. Add to these rather disconcerting measures 
the fact that the committee presented no report except a "Cir- 
cular" the last day of the Conference signed by Bishops Mc- 
Kendree, George, and Roberts ! Of course no progressive legis- 
lation was passed at the Conference. 

In spite of these facts, the reformers were determined to 
continue agitation and to remain loyal to the church, that is, 
encourage no separation. There was really a strong minority 
for remedial legislation in the Conference of 1824, and they 
did not give up hope. Stockton discontinued his Repository, 
and in 1824 the monthly magazine Mutual Rights of the People 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 21 

and Preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church appeared, 
and at the same time Union Societies were formed of those who 
sympathized with the popularization of Methodist polity. 

Time will not allow further detail about this movement. 
Events moved rapidly. Preachers who held to the Asbury con- 
ception of ministerial prerogative naturally interpreted their 
rights strictly, and expelled members with or without trial — 
and when with trial, in a way that often appeared to the re- 
formers to violate both ecclesiastical and civil law, and thus 
aroused widespread resentment. Circulating reform literature, 
writing reform articles, belonging to new Societies, were some- 
times sufficient provocation to set in motion this process of 
expulsion. In 1827 the Eev. Denis B. Dorsey was arrested by 
the Baltimore Conference for circulating Mutual Eights, and 
was suspended for not promising not to do anything of the kind 
in the future. The Eev. Samuel K. Jennings and nine other 
preachers were suspended for similar offense. Their work for 
reform was interpreted as sowing dissension and as speaking 
evil of ministers. Of course this led to the formation of more 
Union Societies and to more earnest activity for reform, and 
this in time to further expulsions. The General Conference 
of 1828 decided against any concession, and the Methodist 
Protestant Church was organized in 1830. 

Looking back on this tragic history from the vantage ground 
of almost a hundred years the poignant regret involuntarily 
intrudes that the Methodist Episcopal Church then was not 
like the Methodist Episcopal Church say since 1880. What 
would then have happened? (1) The official papers would 
have been opened to the reformers and they would not have had 
to establish their own press and thus appear as almost outside 
critics. This would also have led the extreme to more mod- 
erate statement. (2) Expulsion of members and ministers 
would have been impossible, for the reason just mentioned, for 
the reason that freedom of discussion is now more generally 
recognized, and for the reason that the legal rights of accused 
are more carefully guarded. (3) Some of the reforms asked for 



22 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

would probably have been granted, because they have already 
been granted. 

What can the Methodist Episcopal Church do to bring about 
a reunion with the Methodist Protestant Church? (1) Pass 
an indemnifying resolution of regret for the expulsions of 
1826-30 without necessarily reflecting on the good faith of the 
majority party at that time. (2) Admit laymen into the Annual 
Conference. (3) Dovetail the presidential super intendency and 
stationing committee of the Methodist Protestant Church into 
the episcopal superintendency and bishop's cabinet of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church. (4) Adopt the English and Canadian 
plan of printing or manifolding a provisional list or lists of 
appointments before the final form is settled, a method which 
(along with the system of the invitations) has practically elimi- 
nated objections to the Methodist manner of appointing min- 
isters. 

After the first uncompromising utterances against slavery 
there had been a continual recession in testimony and in action. 
Numerous books have given this history and it is not necessary 
to repeat it here. The historical situation was too strong for 
the ethical idealism of the church, the state too strong for the 
church. In 1832 the New England Anti-Slavery Society was 
organized, and in 1833 the American Anti-Slavery Society was 
organized in Philadelphia and in 1835 spent $30,000 in scat- 
tering literature and sending out lecturers. Under this moral 
awakening ministers began to take a more positive part. This 
in time led the more conservative to frown down agitation 
against an institution so inwoven into the social and economic 
fabric of the country, and which many Christian men held not 
only not sinful but under the circumstances positively beneficial 
to both slaves and free. Many thousand Methodist laymen and 
ministers themselves owned slaves with as little qualm of con- 
science as they owned horses. To attack the institution as both 
unchristian and unpatriotic might lead to a disruption of the 
church as well as of state. This found an echo in Conference 
action. In 1835 the Ohio Conference declared against aboli- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 23 

tionists and antislavery societies. In 1836 the Baltimore Con- 
ference did the same. In 1838 the Philadelphia, Pittsburg, and 
Michigan Conferences declared that ministers should not deliver 
abolition lectures, attend abolition conventions, or in any way 
help the movement. The General Conference of 1836 con- 
firmed this condemnation and censured Storrs and Norris for 
attending abolition meetings. In 1837 Bishop Waugh refused 
to put a motion in the New England Conference to refer memor- 
ials on slavery to a committee and to admit an appeal from 
his ruling, and Bishop Hedding refused to allow an appointment 
of a Committee on slavery unless the Conference would comply 
with six conditions. L. C. Matlack was refused admission into 
the Philadelphia Conference in 1837 and in 1838 because he 
was an abolitionist, and Charles K. True, James Floy and Paul 
R. Brown were tried at the New York Conference in 1838 for 
attending an anti-slavery convention at Utica. True and Floy 
were suspended, but retracted and were forgiven, and Brown 
was ordered to be censured by the bishop. The Pittsburg Con- 
ference dropped a probationer because he was an abolitionist and 
the Erie Conference suspended Preston for delivering abolition 
lectures. Orange Scott had for years similar buffetings. It was 
clear that men who believed that slavery was a sin and evil 
must do one of two things, keep silent or get out. Twenty 
ministers were suspended, expelled or rejected for being aboli- 
tionists. Bishop Emory refused to put a resolution in the New 
Hampshire Conference in 1836 saying that slavery is a sin and 
a denial of the inalienable rights of humanity, and the General 
Conference in the same year said that they had no desire to 
interfere in the relation of master and slave. It is not necessary 
to give further facts of this kind. In the early '40s several 
people in various states quietly withdrew and organized 
churches. These were somewhat consolidated by a convention 
at Andover, Massachusetts, in February, 1843, but were fully 
organized in a general convention at Utica, N. Y., June, 1843, 
as the Wesleyan Methodist Connection (or Church) of America. 
This church, which has about 20,000 members and 840 min- 



24 A WOBKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

isters, did away with the Methodist Episcopal form of episcopacy, 
organizing after the manner of the Methodist churches of Eng- 
land, and restored the old Methodist moral strictness, banning 
membership in secret societies and taking strong ground on 
temperance, the Bible in schools, and observance of Sunday. If 
the Wesleyan Methodist Connection still maintains that high 
ground and thinks that the Methodist Episcopal Church com- 
promises there, I hardly see where the necessary preliminary 
understanding can arise to begin negotiations for union. I 
suppose a fundamental moral and religious unity must be taken 
for granted at the start. 

We come now to what Dr. Buckley well calls the bisection 
of the church. For legally and constitutionally the formation of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was not a schism, 
not the formation of a new church, but simply a division mutu- 
ally agreed upon (in essence) at the General Conference of 
1844 and carried out from that impulse by the Southern part 
of the church in 1845. That church made no new polity, no 
new doctrines, formed no new obedience, no new rules, but kept 
up the same constitution, succeeding to the conservative stand 
of the church on slavery so marked in the years 1830-40 and 
to the Asbury-Soule conception of the supremacy of the Epis- 
copate. The Methodist Episcopal Church succeeded in part to 
the earlier attitude on slavery and to the conception of the su- 
premacy of the General Conference which had always represen- 
tatives and was becoming more and more powerful in the quarter 
century before 1844, and actually received sanction as the polity 
of the church in the General Conference of 1844, namely, by 
that Conference sitting in judgment on the fitness of a bishop 
to continue his functions on an incidental matter which reflected 
in no way on his Christian character. James Osgood Andrew 
by will and marriage had become possessor of slaves which the 
laws of the State in which he lived would not allow him to 
emancipate. This was believed to render morally impossible the 
exercise of his episcopal office in the North. The difficulty was 
met by a resolution in the General Conference of 1844 meet- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 25 

ing in New York proposed by Finley and Trimble, two devoted 
ministers of the West (taking the place of a more drastic mea- 
sure proposed by two Baltimore men) : 

Whereas, The Discipline of our Church forbids the doing any- 
thing calculated to destroy our Itinerant General Super^ntendency; 
and, 

Whereas, Bishop Andrew has become connected with slavery by 
marriage or otherwise, and this act having drawn after it circum- 
stances which in the estimation of the General Conference will 
greatly embarrass the exercise of his office as an Itinerant General 
Superintendent, if not in some places entirely prevent it; therefore, 

Resolved, That it is the sense of this General Conference that he 
desist from the exercise of this office so long as this impediment 
remains. 

It is evident that with a more liberal interpretation of the 
idea of a general superintendence another solution might have 
been found. If it had been understood that the superintendency 
implied that a bishop was a part of a universal system of super- 
vision, but need not necessarily preside in all the Conferences, 
but only in those where he could do so to the advantage of the 
church, a view which has been adopted by the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church in the so-called districting of the bishops, then 
there would have been no necessity to suspend Andrew. But 
such an interpretation did not occur to our fathers, who though 
they had peremptorily put under the ban agitation for the abo- 
lition of slavery, believed — that is, the Northern part of them 
did — that a slaveholding bishop would be so embarrassed on pre- 
siding in the North that it would be a kindness to relieve him 
from that necessity; though declaring by a subsequent resolu- 
tion that he was still bishop, with full salary, and with his name 
in the Discipline; etc. Though the resolution of Finley and 
Trimble was as mild and noncommittal as it could possibly be 
made and yet be effective in the suspension of Andrew, it would 
have been resented furiously by Asbury, Coke, and McKendree 
(I mean for its constitutional bearings alone), as it was resented 
by Soule, because it placed the episcopate under the absolute 



26 A WOEKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

control of the General Conference. It affirmed the right to sus- 
pend a bishop without trial on a mere question of expediency. 
This was really one of the most serious results of the General 
Conference of 1844. Whether the bisection of 1844-5 helped 
to bring on the civil war, and if it did how much it did, are 
questions which can never be answered. But that it logically 
put a stop to the evolution toward an Episcopal autocracy which 
sprang from Wesley, Asbury, Coke, McKendree, which had 
received many illustrations hitherto, and which had lost to the 
church hundreds of its ministers and thousands of its laymen, 
there is no doubt whatever. (Of course historically it did not 
put a stop to all manifestations of that autocracy). There had 
been ever since the first General Conference an unbalanced 
equilibrium in the Methodist Church, now inclining to the 
priority of the bishop, now to the priority of the Conference. 
The action of 1844 decided for all time to which side the scales 
would ultimately fall. It was for this reason that the Southern 
delegates, who saw the matter straight, confined themselves 
almost entirely to the constitutional or legal question in their 
debates on the Bishop Andrew matter. The Finley resolution 
was carried 111 to 69. The Southern delegates felt that this 
action made impossible their connection with the General Con- 
ference as hitherto organized, and a plan of separation for these 
was drawn up by a committee of nine, and was adopted by the 
Conference. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was ac- 
cordingly organized in 1845. 

The report of the Committee of Nine in 1844 permitted the 
delegates of the slave-holding States "to unite in a distinct 
ecclesiastical connection," that all churches in the South should 
have the right by a majority vote to "remain under the pastoral 
care of the Southern Church, and that ministers of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church shall not organize churches or societies 
within the limits of the Church South." This report came up 
later when the Methodist Episcopal Church repented of its 
action and attempted to nullify the right of the Southern Con- 
ferences to effect a "distinct ecclesiastical connection" without 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 27 

prejudice to their former standing. This led to litigation which 
in equity could only have the end it did have. 

History has long since made obsolete the dividing line between 
the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, so far as slavery was concerned. The Eternal 
Justice took the matter in his own hands and expiated the 
wrongs — if there were such — for which both parties were equally 
guilty, on both parties alike. Both now stand absolved. They 
can therefore begin anew as one if they wish. This could be 
done on the following platform, which would require no sur- 
render of any principle which Providence has not already — in 
substance at least — eliminated: (1) The formation of the 
colored Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church into a 
new affiliated Conference or church, just as soon as it can be 
done with their approval and without loss to their Christian 
privileges, powers and culture. (2) The admission of laymen 
into the Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
(3) The recognition of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
of the supremacy of the General Conference, as implied in the 
actions of the Conference of 1844 on which their own legal 
standing rests. Or if this is asking too much, then let a com- 
promise like this be accepted : No action of the reunited General 
Conference shall be held valid for the Annual Conferences of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which has received the 
veto of the Southern bishops. If old prejudices could be 
abandoned, and both churches stand together as sisters, under 
the one standard of Christ, the details of union could readily be 
adjusted. The trouble is farther back. A profounder work of 
God in Christianizing the peoples of both churches, as well as 
the social and national order, is needed before a union can take 
place. That is the need, and nothing can vitally help until that 
need is met. 

The remarks made in reference to the union with the Meth- 
odist Protestant Church can be applied to the Congregational 
Methodist Church, the New Congregational Church, Independ- 
ent Methodist Church, and to the Primitive Methodist Church, 



28 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

This last is the result of immigration from England. All these 
are Congregational more or less in polity, with large use of lay 
element, and it is hardly likely they would unite at the price of 
a loss of the Scriptural principle on which they are founded. 

The last important separation from the Methodist Episcopal 
Church was that which resulted in the formation of the Free 
Methodist Church in 1860. What were the causes? (1) 
Slavery. I found by reading the original documents of this 
case that a kind of moral schism had already taken place in 
the Genesee Conference on this and other questions. A large 
section of the Conference had always taken advanced ground 
against slavery, as Western New York — perhaps owing to prox- 
imity to Canada — had been a center of agitation for freedom. 
It was one of the strongholds of the Free Soil Party, the first 
convention of which was held there, viz., in Buffalo in 1848. 
But as the 'fifties wore away a more liberal feeling was coming 
into the Conference, and this was not at all welcome to those 
who wanted no compromise on this question. All the leaders in 
the later Free Methodist movement belonged to this anti-slavery 
element. (2) In September, 1826, William Morgan was sup- 
posed to have been murdered on the shores of Lake Ontario for 
promising to publish an Exposition of Free Masonry. This and 
other events led to a fierce agitation which also had western New 
York for one of its best fields. In 1833 William Wirt as head 
of the Anti-Mason Party polled over 33,000 votes with four 
other parties in the field. The conservatives in the Church who 
were against slavery were also generally against Masonry, and 
this burning topic divided conference and communities and was 
one of the causes of the Free Methodist Church. (3) A doc- 
trinal cleavage was slowly forming. The conservatives held 
strongly to the old Methodist doctrines, while a section of the 
Genesee Conference represented by the Buffalo Christian Ad- 
vocate, was being influenced apparently by Unitarianism, Uni- 
versalism, and the lectures of the lodge. Universalist and 
Methodist ministers exchanged pulpits and churches, and a 
Methodist Church was given up to a Unitarian service — this in 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 29 

the forties or fifties being much more significant than now. 
The working of this liberal leaven greatly alarmed the conserv- 
atives. (4) The same was true in regard to worldliness as shown 
positively in the abandonment of the doctrine of holiness and 
negatively in amusements, church fairs and raffles, etc. (5) 
The formation of a ring or coterie of liberals in and around 
Buffalo, the Buffalo Eegency, so called for their influence on 
appointments and other Conference action. This also greatly 
distressed the conservatives and enraged them, as they had to 
suffer in their own persons for the power of the Eegency. (6) 
The immediate cause of the new Church was an article in The 
Northern Independent of 1857, "New School Methodists/' by 
the Rev. Benjamin T. Roberts, B.S., M.A. (Wesl. Un. '84) in 
which he brought home on the liberals the above and other 
points, claiming that the church was being slowly impregnated 
with a virus of loose views and methods which would destroy 
her ancient power, and that in the Genesee Conference a com- 
pany of men representing those views act as an associated body. 
This article, if one might say so, made the Free Methodist 
Church. For it Roberts was prosecuted before the Genesee 
Conference in 1857 for "unchristian and immoral conduct," 
was found guilty and as a punishment was reprimanded 
by the chair. The next year without Roberts's knowledge a 
friend republished and circulated the article in pamphlet form. 
This led to further charges against Roberts, his trial at the 
Conference in 1858, and his expulsion. A widespread revolt 
from the church followed. Roberts's appeal to the General 
Conference of 1860, which was held that year at the seat of the 
liberals, Buffalo, was turned down, and the Free Methodist 
Church was organized at Pekin, Niagara County, New York, 
in that same year. 

As would naturally be supposed the church was organized on 
a strict ethical and religious basis in obedience to early Meth- 
odist ideals. Membership in secret societies, extravagance in 
dress, wearing of jewelry, use of tobacco and of course liquor, 
were forbidden, and holiness and other old fashioned doctrines 



30 A WORKING CONFERENCE 

were proclaimed. These high demands make difficult an ap- 
proach from the larger church, and I can hardly see where God 
will open the door for the readmission of these earnest and pious 
folk whom we need and who need us. But history shows that 
for the reunion of divided churches three things are necessary: 
a daring faith, a loving heart, and a large-minded spirit of 
concession on all non-essentials. Noblesse oblige. It is for the 
older and stronger church to show that she is the first to advance 
in the spirit of these three things. 



THE HISTORY OF THE AGITATION 

FOR UNION 

PROFESSOR WILLIAM W. SWEET, Ph.D., 
DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana 



THE HISTOEY OF THE AGITATION FOE UNION 
Pkofessor William W- Sweet, Ph.D. 

The part which has been assigned me in the program of this 
Conference, is to briefly bring before you the history of the 
agitation for union between the various bodies of Methodists 
in America. It is the task of the historian to find out the 
truth about the past, and to present that truth without fear 
or favor. And in this paper, I think I can truthfully say, that 
I have no case to prove, that I have no side to uphold, that 
there are no facts which I desire to keep from the scrutiny of 
this company. But what I wish particularly to do, is to place 
myself in such a sympathetic attitude toward all, that the truth 
which I may bring, may be accepted by all. 

In order to more simply present my subject, I have divided 
my paper into four periods: 

(1) The period from 1844 to the opening of the Civil War. 

(2) The relations and activities of the Methodist churches 
during the War. 

(3) The period from the close of the War to the close of 
the Cape May Conference. 

(4) From the Cape May Conference to the present. 

(1) This first period may be termed the period of separa- 
tions, and it is not the province of this paper to discuss this 
period, for that has been most adequately done by my honored 
friend and teacher, Professor John Alfred Faulkner. There are 
some events however, in this period, which belong to my discus- 
sion, and which I will briefly pass in review. 

The years from 1844 to the opening of the Civil War are the 

most painful ones in the history of American Methodism. 

There was little agitation for fraternity during these years, far 

from it. They were years of gathering storm, of widening abyss. 

It is true that the first General Conference of the Methodist 

33 



34 A WOKKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Episcopal Church, South, sent Dr. L. Pierce as a fraternal dele- 
gate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, meeting in Pittsburgh, in 1848, and in the communica- 
tion which Dr. Pierce sent to the Pittsburgh General Confer- 
ence are these words : 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, appointed me as their delegate to bear to you the Christian 
salutations of the Church South, and to assure you that they 
sincerely desire the two great bodies of Wesleyan Methodists, North 
and South, should maintain at all times a warm, confiding, and 
brotherly fraternal relation to each other; and that through me 
they make this offer to you, and very ardently desire that you, on 
your part, will accept the offer in the same spirit of brotherly love 
and kindness. 1 

To this first offer of fraternal relations between the two great 
bodies of American Methodists, the Pittsburgh General Confer- 
ence returned the following reply, which is for us of this genera- 
tion difficult to understand : 

Whereas, A letter from Rev. L. Pierce, D.D., delegate of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, proposing fraternal relations 
between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, has been presented to this Conference; and 

Whereas, There are serious questions and difficulties existing 
between the two bodies; therefore 

Resolved, That while we extend to the Rev. Dr. Pierce all personal 
courtesies, and invite him to attend our sessions, this General 
Conference does not consider it proper at present to enter into 
fraternal relations with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 8 

The General Conference of 1844 had adopted a plan of separa- 
tion, which provided for a division of the territory of the United 
States between the Northern and Southern churches and also 
for the division of the Book Concern property, "should the 
delegates from the Conferences in the slave-holding States find 
it necessary to unite in a distinct ecclesiastical connection." 3 
The Methodist Episcopal Church, however, at their General Con- 

1 General Conference Journal, Methodist Episcopal Church (1848), 21, 22. 
* Ibid., 21, 22. 8 Ibid. (1844), 217-219. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 35 

ference, four years later, in 1848, claimed that the Southern 
Church had violated the agreement made in the General Con- 
ference of 1844, in that they proceeded to immediately organ- 
ize a separate church without waiting for the annual conferences 
to vote on the question; and their action in so doing, they 
claimed, invalidated the whole plan of separation, and they 
declared, "in view of these facts, as well as for the reasons 
before specified, there exists no obligation on the part of this 
conference to observe the provisions of said plan respecting 
a boundary, and said plan is hereby declared null and void." 4 

This action of the General Conference of 1848, both in re- 
spect to the refusal of fraternal relations with the Church 
South, and in its repudiation of the Plan of Separation, could 
cause nothing less than an increased misunderstanding between 
the churches, and from 1848 to the opening of the War, the two 
churches grew farther and farther apart, the situation being 
greatly aggravated by the contest of the churches in the border 
states, for the same territory. In Maryland and Virginia, in 
Kentucky, Missouri, and Kansas, the representatives of the 
two churches clashed, and many things happened on both sides, 
of which most of us in these days are heartily ashamed. In 
these border states each claimed exclusive right to be there, and 
each posed as being basely persecuted by the other, and it was 
not an uncommon occurrence for a church service conducted by 
one side, to be broken up by a mob composing the other. 5 The 
Northern side of this bitter border controversy is presented by 
Dr. Charles Elliott in his Southwestern Methodism, 6 in which 
accounts of Southern atrocities abound; while the Southern 
side is presented by Eev. W M. Leftwich in two good sized 
volumes called Martyrdom in Missouri, 7 which abounds in 
stories of Northern atrocities. 

The relation between the two great branches of Methodism 



* Ibid. (1848), 75. 

6 Sweet, Methodist Episcopal Church and the Civil War, 28-34. 

• Published in 1868, and is made up largely of extracts of articles printed in the Cen- 
tral Christian Advocate, of which the author was editor. 

i Published in 1870. 



36 A WOKKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

was greatly embittered also in the years before the War by 
disputes over church property. When the Methodist Episcopal 
Church repudiated the Plan of Separation, the Church South 
brought suit for a division of the Methodist Book Concern 
properties, first in the Circuit Courts, and later took an appeal 
to the Supreme Court. The litigation lasted through several 
years, finally resulting in the division of the New York Book 
Concern. 8 

And here, I think you will allow me this observation: if the 
Southern church had been permitted to separate according to 
the Plan of Separation adopted in 1844 ; if the church property 
had been justly divided without lawsuits; and if the Southern 
church had been immediately recognized as a legitimate Meth- 
odist church by their Northern brethren; and if they had 
received and returned their fraternal greetings, tendered in 
1848, there would be little need for the holding of such a con- 
ference as this ; and I say this as a loyal member of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 

Dr. Charles Elliott, on the floor of the General Conference 
of 1844, when the Plan of Separation was under discussion, said 
he "believed it (the Plan of Separation) would insure the 
purpose designed and would be for the best interests of the 
church." 9 And in 1898 Senator J. P Dolliver, of Iowa, in his 
fraternal address, said, "I do not doubt that an unseen hand 
guided the whole proceeding. . Looking back at the 

events of that period, it is perfectly plain that unless Methodism 
in the slave-holding states had found expression in an or- 
ganization no longer connected with the anti-slavery Confer- 
ences, it would have lost any expression whatsoever. The men 
who divided the Methodist Church were simply confronted by 
a problem of administration; they did not deal with slavery as 



8 Methodist Church Property Case. 

9 General Conference Journal, 1844, 219. Dr. Charles Elliott afterward changed his 
position on the question of the separation. In 1855, he published History of the Great 
Secession from the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Year 1845. This was the official 
history of the division of the Church, from the Northern standpoint, authorized by the 
General Conference of 1848. The very title of the book indicates his change of position. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 37 

a social theory to be defended or condemned; they dealt with 
it as a present problem. The North said: 'Our Conferences, 
owing to the state of public opinion, will not peacefully receive 
the benedictions of a slave-holding bishop/ The South answered, 
'Our people, for the same reason, will not peacefully submit to 
the jurisdiction of an anti-slavery General Conference.' And 
from a practical standpoint, they were both right/' 10 I am 
inclined to believe that these two statements are true, and if 
this position could be accepted by the two churches today a great 
element of discord would be removed. 

(2) Relations and activities of the Methodist churches during 
the Civil War. 

In the last great speech which John C. Calhoun made before 
the United States Senate in the great debate over Clay's Com- 
promise measure of 1850, he refers to the split which had taken 
place within the Methodist Church. In speaking of the various 
cords which had bound the states together, he said, "Some are 
spiritual or ecclesiastical, some political, others social. . 
The strongest of those of a spiritual and ecclesiastical nature 
consisted in the unity of the great religious denominations, all 
of which originally embraced the whole Union." The strong 
ties which held the denominations together formed a strong 
cord to hold the whole Union together. He continues, "The 
first of these cords to snap under the explosive force of slavery 
was that of the powerful Methodist Episcopal Church. The 
numerous and strong ties which held it together are all broken 
and its unity gone. They now form separate churches, and 
instead of the feeling of attachment and devotion to the inter- 
ests of the whole church which was formely felt, they are now 
arrayed into two hostile bodies, engaged in litigation about what 
was formerly their common property." 11 And that the splitting 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church into two hostile bodies was 
one of the great influences in causing the final break between the 



iojournal of the 13th General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
1898. Appendix II, 282, 283. 
11 Congregational Globe, vol. xxi, Part I, 453. 



38 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

states, which resulted in the Civil War, seems to me most evi- 
dent. From the break in the church to the opening of the Civil 
War, slavery became the theme par excellence of the pulpit and 
the church press, both North and South; the North becoming 
more and more emphatic in its denunciation, the South becom- 
ing more and more energetic in its defense. And finally when 
the war came, very naturally the Methodist Church in the 
North supported the cause of the Union with an extravagant 
devotion; and the church in the South with an equal devotion 
supported the cause of the Confederacy. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church furnished over five hundred 
chaplains to the Union armies and navies, and from one hundred 
to three hundred thousand soldiers; 12 while the Church South 
poured her ministers and members with an equal extravagance 
into the armies of the South, the Methodist Church, South, 
furnishing at least three hundred chaplains to the Confederate 
armies. 13 

As a result of the devotion with which the Southern church 
supported the cause of the Confederacy, and from the fact that 
the South was the field of most of the military operations of 
the war, the Southern church suffered great loss, and before the 
war was over was greatly disorganized. While the war was still 
in progress the Methodist Episcopal Church at the North 
learned of the disorganized condition of the Southern church, 
and resolved to send missionaries into the South to occupy the 
neglected fields, to take possession of unoccupied churches, and 
to look after the welfare of the freedmen. For instance, in 
New Orleans, after its capture by the Union forces, at least 
two score churches in that city were left unoccupied, and in the 
five Methodist Churches, there in 1862, there was not a single 
minister habitually officiating. The Boston Methodist Preachers' 
Meeting as early as 1862 passed resolutions urging upon the 
Missionary Society the necessity of going into the South, and 
finally in 1864, the Missionary Society of the Methodist Epis- 



" Sweet, Methodist Episcopal Church and the Civil War, 87-95, 133-141. 
« Ibid., Appendix E, 219-225. 



tTNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 39 

copal Church did appropriate $35,000 for Southern work. Not 
only did the Methodist Episcopal Church send missionaries and 
money into the South, during the latter part of the war, but 
they obtained possession of church properties, belonging to the 
Church South, through the orders of Union military com- 
manders. This was not alone done by the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, however, but other Northern churches took advantage 
of the same condition and also sent their representatives into the 
South. 14 

This action of the Northern churches, in conjunction with 
the military authorities, in going into the South at this time 
and under these circumstances, aroused much hostility on the 
part of the church people at the South and served to increase 
their bitterness toward their Northern brethren, for years to 
come. The Presbytery of Louisville at their meeting of 1864 
passed a series of resolutions in which they call upon the General 
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church to at once disavow the 
order from the War Department permitting the Board of Do- 
mestic Missions to send their missionaries into the South. 15 
Also, in the spring of 1864 a convention of ministers of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South, from States within the Federal 
lines, met at Louisville, Kentucky, for the express purpose of 
adopting measures for the preservation of their church properties. 
Eight Conferences were represented, and the convention adopted 
the following resolutions upon the subject : 16 

Wheeeas, Under an order issued by the Secretary of War, the 
authorities of another ecclesiastical body, distinct from, if not 
antagonistic to, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, have been 
impowered to take possession of the houses of worship belonging to 
said Church; and 

Wheeeas, We are informed and believe that said order does not 
meet the approval of the President of the United States; and further, 
believing that in the judgment and enlightened Christian feeling, 
both of the officers of the army and many sober-minded Christians, 



14 Ibid., 96-110, for a chapter on "Methodist Missions in the South during the War» 
l6 McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 522. 
"Annual Cyclopedia, 1864, p. 515. 



40 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the order is regarded as unjust, unnecessary and subversive alike 
of good order and the rights of a numerous body of Christians; 
therefore, 

Resolved, That we do most respectfully protest against the execu- 
tion of said order and request the President to restrain and prevent 
its enforcement. 17 

These protests however were without avail, in keeping the 
Northern missionary out of the South, for during the last 
two years of the war, as many as twenty-two regularly ordained 
ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, besides numer- 
ous teachers and other workers, were sent into the South, and 
before the end of the war two Annual Conferences, the Holston, 
in East Tennessee, and the Mississippi Mission Conference, were 
organized. As soon as the war was ended, the number of these 
Northern Church workers in the South rapidly increased, and 
by 1869, the "Northern Methodist Church," as it was termed 
in the South, had succeeded in organizing there ten new Annual 
Conferences, as follows: the Holston and Mississippi Mission 
Conferences, organized in 1865; the South Carolina and Ten- 
nessee Conferences organized in 1866; the Texas, Georgia, 
Virginia, and Alabama Conferences organized in 1867; the 
Louisiana and North Carolina Conferences organized in 1869. 18 

It will not do to imply, as has been often done, that these 
missionaries and teachers from the North came into the South 
with mean and selfish motives. Among the teachers who went 
into the South in the early seventies to teach the Negro, was 
my mother, and naturally I would resent any such implication. 
As a whole their motives were as high and as unselfish as are 
those of any missionary, who goes to-day to China or Africa. 
It is true, however, that some of these Northern missionaries 
did get into politics during the period of Negro rule at the 
South, and some of them did disgrace the church which they 
represented, and to some of them Horace Greeley's description 

l7 For a discussion of Lincoln's attitude on the subject of military interference with 
the churches, see Sweet, Methodist Episcopal Church and the Civil War, pp. 103-108. 

18 Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 1915, pp. 548, 549. An article on "Methodist 
Church Influence in Southern Politics." 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 41 

of a carpet-bagger would apply ; some of them were "long faced, 
and with eyes rolled up, were greatly concerned for the educa- 
tion of the blacks, and for the salvation of their souls. 'Let us 
pray' they said, but they spelled pray with an V, and thus 
spelled, they obeyed the apostolic injunction to Trey without 
ceasing." 19 Most of those who went into the South were sin- 
cere and unselfish, though perhaps many of them were overzeal- 
ous, and much overestimated the Negro. The leaders of the 
church in the North, undoubtedly sincerely felt that their 
churches were needed in the South to perform a work which 
could not be performed by the Southern church because of its 
poverty and disorganized condition. 20 

Besides the Methodist Episcopal Church, two Northern Negro 
churches, the African Methodist Episcopal, and the African 
Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the former having been 
organized in Philadelphia in 1816, and the latter in New York 
in 1820, came into the South before the war was over and imme- 
diately began a successful campaign for the winning of the 
Southern Negro. Naturally the Negro was suspicious of the 
Southern churches, and the Negro membership in the Methodist 
Church, South, and also in the Southern Presbyterian Church 
rapidly decreased, most of them going into the Northern Negro 
churches. In 1862 the Methodist Church, South, had more 
than 200,000 Negro members, but by 1866 a colored membership 
of only 78,000 remained, while the Negro churches show a cor- 
responding increase. In 1866 the African Methodist Church 
had in round numbers 50,000 members, while ten years later 
the membership had increased to 391,044. In 1868 the African 
Methodist Episcopal Zion Church reported 164,000 members. 21 
In the year 1864 these two largest Negro churches held a 
convention, made up of representatives from both churches, at 
which a plan of union had been formulated. The African Meth- 



19 Reports of Commissioners' House of Representatives, 2d Ses., 42 Cong., vol. ii, p. 477. 
20 Journal of Illinois State Historical Society, 1914, pp. 147-165. Article on "Method- 
ist Episcopal Church and Reconstruction," Sweet. 

S1 Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 1915, pp. 549, 550. 



42 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

odist Church, through the vote of its Annual Conferences, ex- 
pressed a willingness for union but rejected the plan proposed. 
The Zion Church, through a majority of its churches and Con- 
ferences, ratified the plan of union, but because the other church 
had failed to ratify, the General Conference of 1868 of the Zion 
Methodist Church refused to take further steps toward union. 22 

The other smaller Methodist bodies were also beginning to 
discuss union by 1864. The General Conference of the Amer- 
ican Wesleyan Methodist Church, which met in Adrian, Mich- 
igan, June, 1864, expressed themselves as favorable to a union 
of the different branches of Reformed Methodists. The Inde- 
pendent Methodists, at their Conference in 1864, also passed 
resolutions favoring the union of all the Methodist bodies in 
this country which repudiate episcopacy, and their proposition 
was favorably received by the Wesleyan Methodists, the Meth- 
odist Protestants, and the Free Methodists. 23 

(3) From the close of the Civil War to the Cape May Con- 
ference, 1876. 

As long as the institution of slavery was in existence there 
was not very much chance for the two great branches of the 
Methodist Church to come to any very satisfactory understand- 
ing, but after that institution was destroyed, and the echoes of 
the war had died away, influences began to work which made 
for a better understanding, and for the eventual opening of 
fraternal relations. 

With the closing of the war, there began to be expressed, both 
in the North and at the South, expectations, that there would 
be an attempt made to bring about a reunion between the Meth- 
odist Episcopal and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
In June, 1865, the Methodist Episcopal bishops issued a declar- 
ation, in which they state that "the great cause which led to the 
separation from us of both the Wesleyan Methodists of this 
country and of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has 
passed away and we trust the day is not far distant when there 



» Annual Cyclopedia, 1868, p. 481. 
» Ibid., 1864, pp. 415, 416. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 43 

shall be but one organization which shall embrace the whole 
Methodist family of the United States." 

At the Kentucky Conference of the Church South, at their 
session in September, 1865, the Committee on the State of the 
Church brought in a majority report declaring, that "there 
existed no longer any satisfactory reason for the continued 
separation of the two Methodist churches," and expressed a 
wish that the General Conference of the Church South take 
appropriate action to bring about such a union. This report, 
however, was rejected by the Conference, and a minority report 
was adopted, stating that they held themselves ready to con- 
sider any plan of union which would be presented to the Gen- 
eral Conference of the Church South by the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church^'On the rejection of the majority report, eighteen 
of the members of the Kentucky Conference withdrew and were 
later received into the Methodist Episcopal Church. 24 

On August 17, 1865, three Southern Bishops, Andrew, Paine 
and Pierce, met at Columbus, Georgia, and there drew up a 
pastoral letter, which was sent out over the South, in which 
they denned their position with regard to the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, the Negro, and the Government of the United 
States. After reviewing the relations between the two churches, 
they give the following reasons for their opposition to a reunion : 
"The abolition, for military and political considerations, of the 
institution of domestic slavery in the United States, does not 
affect the question that was prominent in our separation in 1841. 
Nor is this the only difference between us and them." Among 
these other differences are: "They teach for doctrine the com- 
mandments of men. They preach another gospel. They incor- 
porated social dogmas and political tests into their church creeds. 
They have gone on to impose conditions upon the discipleship 
that Christ did not impose. Their pulpits are perverted to 
agitations and questions not healthful to personal piety, but 
promotive of political and ecclesiastical discord, rather than of 
those ends for which the church of the Lord Jesus Christ was 



* Ibid., 1865, pp. 552, 553. 



44 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

instituted." For the above reasons they see no good results 
from even entertaining the subject of reunion. 

Further on they state: "The conduct of certain Northern 
Methodist bishops and preachers in taking advantage of the 
confusion incident to a state of war to intrude themselves into 
several of our houses of worship, and in continuing to hold these 
places against the wishes and protests of the congregations and 
rightful owners, causes us sorrow and pain." 

The pastoral letter is closed by a warning, that "the talk of 
reunion of the two churches" is but a systematic attempt, 
"already inaugurated, and of which the foregoing is only an 
instance, to disturb and if possible disintegrate and then absorb 
our membership individually. Their policy is evidently 

our division and ecclesiastical devastation. Against all this be 
on your guard." 25 

The opinions expressed in this address were concurred in by 
all the Southern Annual Conferences which met in 1865, and 
also by all the Southern church papers, which had been reestab- 
lished after the close of the war. At this time, the Church 
South looked upon the Methodist Episcopal Church as com- 
pletely hostile, and as refusing them all recognition. They 
looked upon the "great official" organ at New York as putting 
forth only hostile utterances, and that "nine in ten of the 
Northern membership ignore all claims of the Church South to 
the Christian name." 26 This feeling of suspicion of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church is still apparent in the first General Con- 
ference of the Southern church, after the war, which met at 
New Orleans, in 1866. The bishops in their address to the Con- 
ference state : 

In respect to the separate and distinct organization of our church, 
no reasons have appeared to alter our views, as expressed in August 
last. No proposal of fraternal relations has come to us from 
others. While the attempt to take forcible possession of our prop- 



[ ^Annual Cyclopedia, 1865. 

2«Methodist Quarterly Review, 1866, pp. 276-279. Article on "The Two Methodisms 
North and South." 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 45 

erty and ito disintegrate our church declare the mind that would 
destroy, let it be ours to show the mind that was in Christ. 27 

A ray of fraternal sunlight did, however, break through the 
clouds of suspicion upon this General Conference of the Church 
South. A telegram was received a few days after the conven- 
ing of the Conference from the Secretary of the New York 
East Conference, in which the Southern General Conference is 
presented the Christian salutations of the New York East 
Conference and they invite the Southern Conference to make 
"Sunday, April 8, 1866, a day of special prayer both in private 
and in public congregations, for the peace and unity of our com- 
mon country, and for the full restoration of Christian sympathy 
between the churches, especially between the different branches 
of Methodists within this nation." To this invitation the 
Southern General Conference returned a hearty response. 
Greetings were also received from the New York Conference 
in which hope for a reunion of the two churches was expressed, 
and suggesting the appointment of a commission to consider the 
question. The General Conference of the Church South re- 
turned the greetings of the New York Conference, though not 
until that Conference had adjourned, but refused to appoint the 
commission as suggested by the New York Conference. 28 

To this General Conference of the Church South, the Afri- 
can Methodist Episcopal Church also presented its friendly 
greetings, with the request that certain churches belonging to 
the Church South, but occupied by colored congregations, be 
turned over to the African Methodist Church. The General 
Conference returned, the salutations of the African Church, and 
greeted "the ministers of that church as brethren in the work 
of giving the pure gospel of Christ to the colored people of these 
lands," but they refused the request in respect to the transfer 
of church property. 29 

The most important action, however, that was taken by this 
General Conference in respect to Methodist union and fraternity, 

27 General Conference Journal, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1866, pp. 18, 19. 
»Ibid., pp. 26, 27. "Ibid., pp. 59, 65, 66, 73. 



46 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

was taken in connection with the Methodist Protestant Church. 
Two of the Southern Conferences of the Methodist Protestant 
Church sent communications to this General Conference, favor- 
ing union with the Church South, and these communications 
were favorably acted upon; 30 and on the last day of .the session 
a commission was appointed to confer with a like commission 
from the Methodist Protestant Church on the subject of union. 
The Methodist Protestant Church appointed a commission at 
their next General Conference, and these two commissions came 
together at Montgomery, Alabama, in 1867. Each commission 
presented terms of union, and after considerable discussion, 
without coming to any real terms of agreement, the commis- 
sioners adjourned. 31 

In the spring of 1866 another attempt at union among the 
smaller non-episcopal Methodists, was made at Cincinnati, where 
a convention had been called. Delegates from the Methodist 
Protestants, of the North and West; from the Wesleyan Meth- 
odists, from the Independent Methodists, and from the Free 
Methodists were present, and after several days of deliberation, 
a constitution was drawn up, a committee was appointed to pre- 
pare a form of discipline, and the name Methodist Church was 
adopted. The next year, 1867, this new Methodist Church held 
its first General Conference at Cleveland, but only a small 
number of representatives from the other churches besides the 
Methodist Protestant were present : The net result of this attempt 
at union was that "in the final outcome the Methodist Protes- 
tants generally went into the new organization, while 
the Wesleyan Methodists pretty generally remained out of it." 32 

The General Conference of the Church South of 1866 also 
took important action in reference to the colored membership 
of that church. They determined that colored churches, dis- 
tricts, and Annual Conferences should be organized, and that 
"When two or more Annual Conferences shall be formed" the 



»°General Conference Journal, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, r pp. 25, 50, 51, 138, 
si History of Methodist Reform, II. pp. 465-470. 
« Annual Cyclopedia, 1867, p. 495. 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 47 

bishops are authorized to organize them into a separate General 
Conference. This was accordingly done in 1870 at Jackson, 
Tennessee. This first General Conference of the Colored Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church elected two bishops, who were set apart 
by Bishops Paine and McTyeire, of the Church South, and all the 
property which had been used for Methodist Negroes was turned 
over to this new church. 33 

The Opening of Fraternal Kelations between the 

Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist 

Episcopal Church, South 

In the spring of 1869 the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church met at Meadville, Pennsylvania, and at that meeting 
two delegates were appointed from their number to bear fra- 
ternal greetings to the bishops of the Church South at their 
meeting in St. Louis the following month. Bishops Morris, 
Janes, and Simpson were appointed the fraternal messengers, 
though Bishop Morris was prevented from going by the sick- 
ness of his wife. At this first official fraternal meeting between 
the representatives of the two great Methodist churches, three 
formal addresses were read, the first being on behalf of the 
bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which stated : 

It seems to us that as the division of those churches of our 
country which are of like faith and order has been productive of 
evil, so the reunion of them would be productive of good. 

As the main cause of the separation has been removed, so has the 
chief obstacle to the restoration. 

It is fitting that the Methodist Church, which began the disunion, 
should not be the last to achieve the reunion; and it would be a re- 
proach to the chief pastors of the separated bodies if they waited 
until their flocks prompted them to the union, which both the love 
of country and of religion invoke, and which the providence of God 
seems to render inevitable at no distant day. 34 

The address is closed with the statement that they have there- 



38 McTyeire, History of Methodism, pp. 670, 672. 
34 Formal Fraternity, p. 8. 



48 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



fore appointed two of their colleagues to "confer upon the pro- 
priety, practicability, and methods of reunion." 

The fraternal messengers then read an address on their own 
account, in which they quote the declaration made by the Meth- 
odist Episcopal bishops at their meeting in 1865, in which the 
statement is made that "the great cause which led to the separa- 
tions," has passed away, and they call attention to the action of 
the General Conference of 1868 in appointing a Commission 
"empowered to treat with a similar commission from any other 
Methodist church on the question of union," and they express 
the hope that the Church South will appoint a similar com- 
mission. 35 

A few days after this meeting, the bishops of the Church 
South sent their formal reply, in which they express pleasure in 
the visit of the Methodist Episcopal bishops, and "deplore the 
unfortunate controversies and tempers that have prevailed and 
still prevail," and they pray that these may speedily give way 
to peace. They call attention to the fact that before union 
can be achieved fraternal feelings and relations must first be 
restored. They then call to remembrance their attempt to open 
fraternal relations in 1848, and that their efforts had then been 
repulsed. They quote the words of Dr. Pierce at the time of 
his rejection as their fraternal delegate, that "She [the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South] can never renew the offer of 
fraternal relations between the two great bodies of Wesleyan 
Methodists in the United States. But the proposition can be 
renewed at any time, either now or hereafter, by the Methodist 
Episcopal Church." The address then proceeds to discuss the 
statement made by the Methodist Episcopal bishops, "That 
the great cause which led to the separation from us of both the 
Wesleyan Methodists of this country, and of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, has passed away." They state in this 
address that the cause for the separation was not slavery, as the 
Northern bishops infer, but that slavery was only the occasion. 
They also object to the statement "separated from us." They 

36 Formal Fraternity, pp. 9, 10 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 49 

continue, "We separated from you in no sense in which you did 
not separate from us. The separation was by compact and 
mutual, and nearer approaches to each other can be conducted 
with hope of a successful issue only on this basis." The ad- 
dress is closed by calling attention to the conduct of Northern 
missionaries and agents in the South, which they say is "not only 
a breach of charity, but an invasion of the plainest rights of 
property." 36 

The commission appointed by the General Conference of 1868 
to treat with similar commissions from other Methodist churches 
on the subject of union, sent Bishop Janes and Dr. John Mc- 
Clintock to bear fraternal greetings to the next General Con- 
ference of the Church South, meeting at Memphis, Tennessee. 
Dr. McClintock having died before the meeting of the Mem- 
phis Conference, Rev. W L. Harris, afterward Bishop, was 
appointed in his place. This delegation was cordially received 
by the Southern General Conference of 1870, and presented an 
address urging that the Church South take steps toward an 
honorable union, and that they appoint a commission to consider 
that subject. There was objection raised by some members of 
the Southern General Conference on the ground that the Meth- 
odist Episcopal commission was not officially authorized to treat 
with the Church South, but only with the African Methodist 
Episcopal Zion Church, or with any other church which came 
knocking at the doors of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and 
the overtures of the commissioners through their delegates were 
rejected by the Church South in a series of resolutions, stating 
that "the true interests of the Church of Christ require and 
demand the maintenance of our separate and distinct organiza- 
tions." 37 

The next General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, meeting in 1872, took up the matter of fraternal rela- 
tions with the Church South, and recommended that a delega- 
tion be appointed to bear fraternal greetings to the next Gen- 
eral Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

*» Ibid., pp. 10, 11, 12. " lbid.,5pp. 12-18. 



50 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Accordingly Rev. A. S. Hunt and Rev. C. H. Fowler, with Gen- 
eral Clinton B. Fisk, were appointed such a delegation, and they 
appeared before the General Conference of the Church South 
at their session at Louisville in 1874. They were heartily 
received, and each delegate delivered an address. Later the Con- 
ference appointed a committee of nine to take action on the ques- 
tion of fraternity, which brought in a long report, reviewing 
the relations between the churches since their separation in 
1844. In this report they make objection to organic union, and 
point out the differences between the two churches which render 
union not only difficult to attain but impracticable. Among the 
differences mentioned is the fact that the General Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church is supreme, while theirs is a 
body of limited powers; they also call to mind their differences 
on the question of the Negro; and they further insist on the 
Plan of Separation being recognized by the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, for, they state, "however others may regard that instru- 
ment, the Plan of Separation is too important in its application 
to our status and security to be lightly esteemed by us." The 
report closes with two resolutions, the first expressing pleasure 
at the visit of the fraternal delegates from the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, and authorizes the Southern bishops to send a 
similar delegation to the next General Conference of their sister 
church. The other resolution authorizes a commission made up 
of three ministers and two laymen to meet a similar commission 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to adjust all existing diffi- 
culties. 38 

In conformity to this report the Southern bishops at their 
next meeting appointed the fraternal delegates and commis- 
sioners, and at the next General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, meeting in Baltimore in 1876, these fraternal 
messengers of the Church South were cordially received, and 
each delivered an address, in which the bonds of union which 

"Formal Fraternity, pp. 19-40. The Commissioners of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, were Edward H. Myers, Robert K. Hargrave, Thomas M. Finney, David 
Clapton, Robert B. Vaner. The Methodist Episcopal Commissioners were Morris D'C. 
Crawford, Enoch L. Fancher, Erasmus Q. Fuller, Clinton B. Fisk, John P. Newman. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 51 

drew the two churches together were emphasized. At the close 
of these addresses General Fisk made a motion that a com- 
mittee of seven be appointed to consider the proposal of the 
Church South in regard to the appointment of a commission, 
to confer with the commission already appointed by the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South. This motion was carried, and 
a commission was recommended, and commissioners were ap- 
pointed. 

The Cape May Conference 

The two commissions thus appointed met at Cape May, New 
Jersey, August 17, 1876. After organization for business and 
the adoption of rules of order, a Declaration and Basis of Fra- 
ternity was unanimously adopted, which, as Bishop Cranston 
says, "cleared the decks" for further action. This declaration 
declares : 

Each of said churches is a legitimate branch of episcopal Meth- 
odism in the United States, having a common origin in the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church organized in 1784. 

Since the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
was consummated in 1845, by ithe voluntary exercise of the right of 
the Southern Annual Conferences, ministers and members, to adhere 
to that communion, it has been an evangelical Church, reared on 
scriptural foundations, and her ministers and members, with those 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, have constituted one Methodist 
family, though in distinct ecclesiastical connections. 

This was a most important step toward fraternity, and was 
undoubtedly necessary before anything of lasting importance 
could be accomplished. 

The commission remained in session until August 23, and in 
the course of their deliberation, adopted a series of rules for 
adjustment of claims to church property which had been agitat- 
ing both churches, and had been a fruitful cause for dissension 
for many years. 39 

a9 The Joint Commission of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, which met at Cape May, New Jersey, August 16-23, 1876, author- 
ized the publication of a pamphlet to contain all fraternal proceedings between the two 
churches, from 1869 to 1876. This pamphlet was accordingly published under the title 
"Formal Fra>rtlty" In 1876^ 



52 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

While the two great episcopal Methodist churches were mak- 
ing progress in the direction of a better understanding, two 
Methodist unions were consummated, one in Canada and the 
other in the United States. In 1874 the Methodist Episcopal 
Church of Canada, the British Wesleyans in Canada, and the 
New Connection Methodists formed a union and the new 
church was called the Methodist Church of Canada. The union 
of the anti-slavery wing of the Methodist Protestant Church 
with the Wesleyan Methodists, which had been accomplished in 
1866, with the formation of the "Methodist Church," was not 
a successful union, and there began to be considerable agitation 
for a return to the Methodist Protestant name, and to a union 
with the Methodist Protestants of the South. This agitation 
began in 1870 and continued through several years, and finally 
resulted in a reunion of the two churches at Baltimore in May, 
1877. 40 

(4) Steps toward union between Methodist bodies, from the 
Cape May Conference to the present. 

By the action of the Cape May Commissioners in adopting 
the "Basis of Fraternity" the "irritating discussion of the Plan 
of Separation was officially closed." 41 In the study of the rela- 
tions between the two great Methodist churches one thing has 
been made very evident to me, and that is, a discussion of the 
Plan of Separation will never bring about union. In the Meth- 
odist Review from 1870 to 1878 I have found eleven articles 
bearing on the church in the South, among them three articles 
with the title "The General Conference of 1844" and one article 
"Did the Church South Secede?" In 1876 Edward H. Mvers, 
D.D., wrote a book entitled The Disruption of Methodism, in 
which the Southern viewpoint is set forth, and in the same year 
Dr. E. Q. Fuller replied to the arguments advanced by Dr. 
Myers in a book entitled An Appeal to the Records. If argu- 
ment could ever have settled the differences, there certainly has 
been enough of it to have accomplished that end. And even as 



*°Bassett, History of the Methodist Protestant Church, pp 251-294. 
4l Cranston, Breaking Down the Walls, p. 43. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 53 

late as 1915 we find a book still giving valuable space to argu- 
ment on the same fruitless question. 

From the Cape May Conference to the present, steady pro- 
gress has been made in the direction of better understanding, 
and there has been a growing sentiment in all the Methodist 
churches in favor of organic union. The sending of fraternal 
messengers to the various General Conferences has been contin- 
ued and each succeeding fraternal address has breathed a grow- 
ing spirit of understanding and brotherhood. At the Southern 
General Conference of 1878, Dr. Cyrus D. Foss and Will Cum- 
back were the Methodist Episcopal fraternal delegates. After 
their addresses Dr. Lovick Pierce, then in his ninety-fifth year, 
responded in these touching words : "Beloved brethren, I rise to 
thank you for your kind expression in regard to myself, and I 
request you to return to my brethren in the North this communi- 
cation : When they can outlove me I want you to send me word." 
And his closing words were: "I am glad that fraternity has 
come to pass in all its beauty, and in all its perfection, and in 
all its sacredness." 42 

Since 1881 a number of Pan-Methodist conferences have 
been held which have contributed their part in keeping Method- 
ist union before the churches. In September, 1881, the first 
Ecumenical Methodist Conference was held in London, and 
in the sermons and addresses of that meeting Methodist union 
was considerably discussed. 43 In December, 1884, a Centennial 
Conference was held in the city of Baltimore, at which repre- 
sentatives of the episcopal Methodist churches were present, and 
the question of unity and cooperation was constantly before the 
Conference. This Conference adopted resolutions expressing 
the belief that the Centennial Conference had "strengthened the 
bond of brotherhood," and they commended to the Methodist 
churches represented to consider "whether informal conferences 
between them could not be held with profit from time to time 
concerning matters of common interest to their respective 



* 2 General Conference Journal, Methodist Episcopal Church, 1880, p. 160. 
♦•Proceedings First Ecumenical Methodist Conference, 1881 (Cincinnati, 1882). 



54 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

bodies." Also they "Resolved, That we shall be greatly pleased 
to see these bonds of brotherhood and fellowship increased and 
strengthened more and more in the future." 44 

In 1891 the second Ecumenical Methodist Conference was 
held in Washington, and unity was the central topic of all the 
addresses of this great meeting, though there was a considerable 
sentiment, especially on the part of the representatives of the 
Church South and the Methodist Protestant Church, that 
organic union was not the most desirable type of unity. The 
pastoral address of this second Ecumenical Conference expressed 
itself as follows on the question of Methodist union: 

We rejoice to recognize the substantial unity which exists among 
the various Methodist churches. Its firm basis is a common creed. 
We are all faithful to the simple, Scriptural, and generous theology 
which God, through the clear intellect and loving heart of John 
Wesley, restored to his church. And there are other grounds of 

unity. We are proud of the same spiritual ancestry; we sing the 
same holy hymns; our modes of worship are similar; and what is 
most important of all, the type of religious experience is funda- 
mentally the same throughout the Methodist world. Our ecclesi- 
astical principles are not so various as the forms in which they are 
accidentally embodied. Rejoicing in these things, we think that the 
time has come for a closer cooperation of the Methodist churches, 
both at home and abroad, which shall prevent waste of power and 
unhallowed rivalry; while before the eyes of many of us has passed 
the delightful vision of a time when, in each land it is planted, 
Methodism shall become, for every useful purpose, one, and the 
Methodism of the world shall be a close and powerful federation of 
churches for the spread of the kingdom of Christ. 45 

Methodist Federation. 

The next definite step in the direction of union between the 
two great Methodist Episcopal Churches was taken by the Gen- 
eral Conference of the Church South in 1894, in adopting reso- 
lutions requesting the appointment of a Commission on 
Federation, to be made up of three bishops, three ministers, and 
three laymen, and also requesting the Methodist Episcopal 

**Neely, pp. 242, 243. 

^Proceedings Second Ecumenical Conference, 1891, p. 594. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 55 

Church to appoint a similar commission, the purpose of these 
commissions being to devise some means by which "hurtful 
competitions and waste of men and money in home and foreign 
fields" may be abated. 46 The General Conference of the Method- 
ist Episcopal Church in 1896 met this request, and a joint 
commission was accordingly created. 47 The joint commission 
met in Baltimore in January, 1898, and formulated a number 
of important recommendations, among them being "the prepara- 
tion of a common Catechism, a common hymn book, and a com- 
mon order of public worship," and the coordination of 
missionary operations in the foreign fields. 48 

The recommendations of this joint commission were adopted 
by the General Conferences of the two churches, by the Church 
South in 1898 and by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1900, 
and in due time the common Hymnal and Order of Public 
Worship appeared. The commissions of both churches were 
continued, and in 1908 a special commission was provided to 
meet similar commissions from the three larger Negro churches, 
to discuss matters of federation and church union. 

The General Conference of the Church South, meeting in 
Birmingham, Alabama, in 1906, adopted the following reso- 
lution : 

Resolved, That the growth of the spirit of fraternity and of 
practical federation in evangelical churches in many communities, 
and especially in this country between the Methodist Episcopal 
Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, suggests the 
advisability of instituting a Federal Council for these two churches, 
which without interfering with the autonomy of the respective 
churches and having no legislative functions, shall yet be invested 
with advisory powers in regard to world-wide missions, Christian 
education, the evangelization of the unchurched masses, and the 
charitable and brotherly adjustment of all misunderstandings and 
conflicts that may arise between the different churches of Meth- 
odism.* 9 



4B Neely, American Methodism: Its Divisions and Unifications, p. 293. 
47 General Conference Journal, Methodist Episcopal Church, 1896, p. 101. 
48 The Minutes of the 1898 meeting of the Joint Commission may be found in the Journal 
of the 13th General Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, pp. 237-247. 

49 General Conference Journal, Methodist Episcopal Church, 1908, pp. 622, 623. 



56 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

This resolution was also adopted by the General Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1908, and the members 
of the Commission on Federation were instructed to act as 
members of the Federal Council. 

At the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in 1908 direct overtures were made to the Methodist Protestant 
Church for union, and a delegation was sent to "most cordially 
invite the Methodist Protestant Church to unite with the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church," the General Conference of the 
Methodist Protestant Church being in session at the same time, 
at Pittsburgh. The Methodist Protestant Church responded 
most graciously to this invitation, sending a delegation to return 
the greetings, and appointing a commission to meet with 
similar commissions from the Methodist Episcopal Church and 
the Church South, "to promote and complete as far as may be 
possible the reunion of Methodists in America." 50 

The federation commissions from these three Methodist 
churches met at Baltimore in 1910 and drew up the following 
statement : v 

We mutually agree that the churches represented by us are equally 
apostolic in faith and purpose and having a common origin — the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, organized in 1784; that they are joint 
heirs of the traditions and doctrinal standards of the fathers, and 
that they have proved their loyalty to the evangelical spirit which 
characterized early Methodists. 

We are mutually agreed that our fathers settled the issues of the 
past conscientiously for themselves respectively, and separated re- 
gretfully, believing that only such action could insure their con- 
tinued access to the peoples they were called to serve. 01 

The joint commission met again in May, 1911, at Chatta- 
nooga, Tennessee, and adopted a plan of reorganization, merg- 
ing the three Methodist churches, the Methodist Protestant, the 
Church South, and the Methodist Episcopal. They embody 
their plan in eight suggestions, the most important being the 
suggestion of the division of the merged church into four 

60 General Conference Journal, 1908, Methodist Episcopal Church, pp. 379-381; 621, 622. 
«Neely, p. 301. 



WlOK 01? AMERICAN METHODISM 5* 

Quadrennial Conferences, the colored membership "to be con- 
stituted and recognized as one of the Quadrennial ; 
Conferences," these Conferences to have the power td name the 
bishops from their special jurisdictions, the same to be 1 con- 
firmed by "a General Conference, which is also to have full 
legislative power over distinctly eonnectional" matters. 52 

The Methodist Episcopal General Conference of 1912 ap- 
proved the action taken by the joint commission at their meeting 
in 1910, stating that: 

We heartily approve the action of our Commission on Federation 
in proposing the consideration of the question of organic union to 
the Commissioners in joint session at Baltimore, believing that the 
membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church would welcome a 
corporate reunion of the Methodisms of America. 53 

This General Conference, however, failed to take any action 
on the "suggestions" for merging the Methodist churches, which 
had been adopted by the joint commission at its Chattanooga 
meeting in 1911. The Church South, nevertheless, at their 
General Conference in 1914, took action on the "suggestions," 
stating that they regarded the "plan proposed by the joint 
commission on federation as feasible and desirable," 
and declare themselves in favor of unification of all Methodist 
bodies, "after it [the plan] has been accepted by the Methodist 
Episcopal Church." 54 

This is the present status of the agitation for union between 
the various Methodist bodies in America. The next official step 
must be taken by the Methodist Episcopal Church at the Sara- 
toga General Conference, and there seems to be a great 
probability that the question of the organic union of Methodism 
will be the question par excellence before that body. Since the 

^Cranston, Breaking Down the Walls, Appendix, pp. 178, 179. 
f- In 1906 and 1907 the consolidation of Methodism in Japan was consummated, the churches 
concerned being the Methodist Episcopal, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and 
the Methodist Church of Canada. (General Conference Journal, 1908, Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, pp. 930-962.) 

•'General Conference Journal, 1912, Methodist Episcopal Church. 

64 Cranston, Appendix. 



58 A WOEKING CONFERENCE 

1914 General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, four important books on Methodist Union have appeared, 
Breaking Down the Walls, by Bishop Cranston; "That They May 
Be One," by C. B. Spencer; Methodist Fraternity and Federa- 
tion, by Bishop E. E. Hoss; and American Methodism; Its 
Divisions and Unifications, by Bishop Neely. 55 Besides these 
books many articles and editorials have appeared in the church 
periodicals, of all the Methodist bodies, and never before has 
the subject of Methodist union been so upon the hearts and lips 
of Methodists everywhere. Union may not be accomplished this 
year, or in the next ten years, but of this much we are certain, 
there has been great progress made toward such a consummation, 
and we see no signs of that progress being halted. 

M In 1892 two books on Methodist Union appeared, one by Dr. W. P. Harrison of the 
Church South, entitled, Methodist Union Threatened in 1844 was formally Dissolved 
in 1848 (Nashville, Tenn., 1892). Dr. Harrison in this book opposes organic unions. 
The other book is by Bishop R. S. Foster on Union of Episcopal Methodism (New York 
and Cincinnati, 1892), which is an argument in favor of union. 



METHODIST UNION IN GREAT BRITAIN 

AND CANADA 

S. D. CHOWN, D.D., LL.D., 

General Superintendent of the Methodist Church of Canada, 

Toronto, Ontario 



METHODIST UNION IN GREAT BRITAIN AND 

CANADA 

S. D. Chown, D.D., LL.D. 

The story of Methodist Union in Great Britain and Canada 
is very simple, but very satisfying. I fear, however, that it will 
contribute little to the solution of the very complex problem 
which we meet to-day to discuss, but such as it is I gi\e unto you. 

The impulse toward Methodist union, generated by the 
Ecumenical Council of 1901, originated the movement in Great 
Britain. After conferences and committee meetings held from 
the year 1902 to 1907, union was consummated. The Wesley- 
ans did not come in. The ostensible reason for this was their 
refusal to merge the Pastoral Conference in the General Session. 
The Primitives struck an attitude of sympathetic observation, 
but drew back when it was found that the sentiment in their 
body in favor of representation in Annual Conference in the 
proportion of two laymen to one minister was too strong to be 
set aside. The Independent Methodists could not accept the 
doctrine of the ministry held by several of the uniting churches, 
and begged to be excused, as also did the Wesleyan Reform 
Union, for reasons somewhat obscure. 

The Union of 1907 included the Methodist New Connexion, 
the Bible Christians, and the Methodist Free Churches. As a 
means of preparation many public meetings were held in vari- 
ous parts of the kingdom. These diffused information, afforded 
opportunities for spiritual communion, and for the expression 
and development of a sense of brotherhood. 

In the progress of the movement various amendments to the 

Constitution were proposed, but in the end no circuit intimated 

that if its suggestions were not accepted it would refuse to enter 

the new church. Only four circuits out of the 1,430 uttered 

any formal dissent. The vote of the officials stood 8,612 for 

61 



62 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the Constitution, 285 against, and 343 neutral. Subsequently 
the Annual Conferences adopted the Basis of Union with prac- 
tical unanimity. At the culminating conference, held to cele- 
brate the grand consummation in City Road Chapel, on Sep- 
tember 17th, 1907, the Constitution of the new church was 
carried with absolute unanimity amidst sobs, tears and respon- 
sive hallelujahs. Upon the result being announced the whole 
assembly spontaneously burst into the doxology, which was sung 
with very marked emotion. 

The event had its spectacular side, being attended by the Lord 
Mayor of London, his sheriffs and officials, adorned with a blaze 
of jewelry and other trappings. He was followed by the Lord 
Mayors of Leeds, Bristol, and Cardiff, all garbed in their robes 
and insignia of office. Nightly rejoicings were held in the City 
Temple, during which £30,000 were raised as part of a thank 
offering of £100,000. 

The consideration which proved decisive in producing Union 
was undoubtedly a desire for a combination of efficiency and 
economy. Besides this there was a pervasive sense of uneasi- 
ness, owing to the conviction that to remain separate when no 
principles were at stake was indefensible, perhaps sinful, and 
certainly did not point the way to the ultimate unity that was 
believed to be clearly implied in the prayer of our Lord. 

The advantages of the Union have been so conspicuous that 
there is a general feeling that it precedes only by a short time 
another larger movement of the same sort. Expectation has 
been realized in the economy and efficiency which now attend 
the administration of the educational, missionary, and other 
connectional activities ; while individual congregations have expe- 
rienced a distinct uplift in respect to both equipment and suc- 
cess. These very general remarks will perhaps suffice in respect 
to Methodist Union in Great Britain. 

We turn to our work in Canada with much greater certainty 
of knowledge and sureness of conviction, with the hope also that 
though the problem is on a much smaller scale than yours our 
success may have some value in guiding your thought. In the 



union of amekican Methodism 63 

year 1870 we had in Canada six separate bodies of Methodists, 
each with its own history, traditions, local associations, aspira- 
tions, prejudices, and even antipathies. In the history of Cana- 
dian Methodism there had been three serious separations, and 
five different plantings. These plantings were due to immigra- 
tion and the missionary effort of various Methodist bodies com- 
ing from England and the United States of America. Until 
1870, with the exception of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
originated by missionaries from this side of the International 
Line, all branches of Canadian Methodism maintained connec- 
tion with the parent bodies over the sea. This connection 
strongly tended to perpetuate discussion and also to complicate 
the process of uniting these various bodies by introducing in 
each case two negotiating and consenting parties instead of one. 
Five of, these had connection with English Methodism, two Wes- 
leyan, east and west, and one each, Primitive Bible Christians, 
and New Connexion. The connection of these English bodies, 
with their respective Canadian branches, was maintained not 
merely by action of Conferences in England and Canada, but 
also by Articles of Union and by living representatives, who 
being sent out from England resided for a time in Canada and 
exerted an important influence in the life and work of their 
respective Canadian branches. These relationships and their 
legal aspects you will readily see made negotiations for union 
much more delicate and complicated than they would have been 
had the bodies interested been entirely independent. 

Geography contributed significant conditions to our problem. 
As you have a North and South, we have an East and West. 
We had an advantage however in the fact that the branches of 
Wesleyanism, both in the East and West, were affiliated in 
common with English Methodism. There had also been no 
breaking down of an original union by division of religious, 
social, or political opinion. On the contrary, the Confederation 
of the Provinces of Canada into a new Dominion, with its con- 
comitant influence, was at this time unifying the national feel- 
ing of our people. This was very helpful to us. 



64 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Our local conditions, however, resembled yours. In the same 
city, town, village, and even rural community often two, some- 
times three or four Methodist churches might be found, scarcely 
a block apart. This proximity increased the intensity of ecclesi- 
astical rivalry, and sometimes gave birth to a spirit not angelic. 
You can appreciate this condition without my further laboring 
it. 

I will not burden you with a detailed story of our negotiations, 
but will simply say that our Union was accomplished in two 
steps. In 1874 eastern and western Wesleyan Methodism and 
the Methodist New Connexion body were united in the Methodist 
Church of Canada. In 1883 this united body and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in Canada, the Primitive Methodist Church 
in Canada, and the Bible Christian Church in Canada were 
united in what is now known officially as The Methodist Church. 
In each case the movement was begun and completed within two 
years. A divine afflatus carried matters through with a strength 
and thoroughness exceeding the most sanguine expectation of 
its promoters. So far as we know not a single member or min- 
ister was lost to the united church. This satisfactory state of 
things did not simply happen. It was promoted by a periodical 
which was started as the organ of the movement. As a result 
of brotherly discussion the best special features of each body 
were discerned and adopted. In the end each of the four bodies 
could feel that everything they held in common was included, 
and that each had contributed something peculiarly its own to 
the common constitution — generally the thing it had specially 
prized, and prided itself upon. In June the several conferences 
carried the union by a large majority and took measures for its 
consummation in a General Conference in September. The 
opening hour of this Conference was a time of gracious influ- 
ence. The leaders of the opposition were treated with great 
kindliness, and as one of them led in the opening prayer, the 
Holy Spirit resting upon the congregation, his own heart was 
melted and the union appeared to be sealed by a Divine blessing 
on the hearts of all present. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 65 

But notwithstanding this auspicious beginning very serious 
difficulties were still to be overcome. A Church Property Com- 
mittee was appointed for each district, whose duty it was to 
decide which churches and parsonages should be occupied and 
which sold, and to make recommendations concerning the same. 
We also found it necessary to take up a Union Church Relief 
Fund collection in all our congregations in order to meet the 
financial responsibilities of trustees holding property which was 
rendered of less value through being vacated in carrying out 
the union. The Wesleyan Methodist Church had a strong 
Superannuation Fund, deriving annually a large income from 
the profits of our Book Room. Other branches of Methodism 
were not so fortunately situated, but each minister of such 
branches was permitted to level up by the payment of an ascer- 
tained sum, so as to give him a claim upon the Superannuation 
Fund of the united church equal to that of the ministers of the 
former Wesleyan Church. We found that the absorption of 
our ministers was easy, owing to the great revival which followed 
union, the rapid development of the country, and the largely 
increased receipts of missionary funds for the work of expan- 
sion. Our ministers are now very much better supported than 
they were prior to the union. 

A more prolonged task than the making of these economic 
arrangements lay in the necessity of securing the unity of the 
spirit, and that brotherly feeling which makes Christians really 
one in Christ Jesus. There was a social class feeling to be over- 
come. Some of these Methodist peoples felt themselves to be 
more respectable than others. They had a subtle spiritual pride. 
Others thought they were more pious, more truly spiritual, while 
the other flock were too fashionable and worldly-minded. There 
were lingering memories of old controversies, some of which 
had been fought out and settled in Canada and should have been 
dead issues. Others were imported from the Old World, and 
never had any real significance on this side of the water. Then 
there was a rivalry, in little villages especially, where there was 
no elbow room for two or three competing Methodisms, a rivalry 



66 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

which had been pretty strenuously maintained and in some cases 
accelerated as union was seen to be approaching. There were 
also personal attachments to institutions, which led people to 
say, "Our college," "Our missionary society," "Our men," "Our 
hymn book," "Our church paper." These attachments clung 
even to the peculiarities of a prayer meeting. Some preferred 
the staid, the solemn and respectable; others the noisy and per- 
haps ranting. Sometimes the attachment was to the old build- 
ing "in which I was converted," and they said, "I can never 
feel just the same in any other." All these things were to be 
overcome. They were not rational convictions. They were 
vagaries, blind sentiments which had grown with the years, and 
having been instilled from childhood had become a settled habit 
of thought and life, and were therefore the most difficult of all 
things human to be overcome. It was easy for Conference to say, 
"the old order passeth." It was not easy to make the old order 
pass. 

Thirty-two years have slipped away since the last union. 
Now scarcely more than one Canadian Methodist out of a 
hundred could tell you to what branch of Methodism his 
present pastor belonged prior to Union. The old has com- 
pletely passed away and all things have become new. We have 
scarcely a reminder that there ever was another order than the 
present. 

What has been the cause of this? Is it the lapse of time? 
We think not, for this has been our condition for more than 
half the years since Union was consummated. The disappear- 
ance of the old prejudices, antagonisms, and narrow attach- 
ments has been almost as rapid as was the consummation of 
Union itself. What then was the cause? First of all, a great 
revival of religion. When Union was consummated in 1883 the 
members of the uniting churches numbered only 169,803. It 
may be fairly assumed that this was the best showing that could 
be made. In the first three years of the Union the membership 
increased by sixteen per cent. In the next four years the increase 
was more than eighteen per cent. From 1883 to 1894 our 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 67 

increase was fifty-three per cent. Nor did this increase of 
church membership stand alone. It was accompanied by growth 
in every direction: Extension of missionary work, enlargement 
and improvement of educational work, rapid building of 
churches, especially in the cities and in the Northwest Territories 
and Provinces. Thus, in eleven years the new replaced the old. 
If the old institutions, churches, missions, colleges, had been 
loved and prized, the new and growing institutions inspired a 
stronger affection born of greater enthusiasm and more intense 
pride. Instead of the fathers were rising up the children, and 
princes they were in all the earth. 

But the best of all was the new spirit of brotherhood, the 
growing unity in love amongst our church membership ; the old 
personal prejudices, antagonisms and rivalries disappeared. The 
Bible Christian learned that the Wesleyan with his more re- 
strained expression of religious feeling still had deep in his 
heart the religion that he himself loved. The Wesleyan learned 
that the Bible Christian or the Primitive, in his more vehe- 
ment expression of emotion, was genuine and a mighty helper 
in every good work, and the fathers rejoiced to see the children 
all growing up one in Christ and knowing nothing of the differ- 
ences of the past. 

Then it must be remembered that in this new generation we 
were approaching broader issues and larger problems which were 
to present their own difficulties, but to eventuate in new develop- 
ments, not only of Methodism, but of Christianity itself. For 
this the Union had prepared us. If the intellectual movement of 
the age was now rapidly bringing us into touch with new theo- 
logical problems, the United Church was furnished with a 
stronger scholarship, with scholars who by reason of the ensuing 
revival were endowed with the deepest spirituality, as well as the 
clearest intellectual discernment. If we were in a great for- 
ward movement for moral reform, social purity, and civil right- 
eousness, the United Church could speak with a strength unat- 
tainable prior to the Union. At this time also interest in a 
world-wide missionary movement sprang up amongst us. In 



68 A WORKING CONFERENCE 

this strong laymen took part, and we found that much of our 
lay leadership came from the smaller bodies. 

In view of these facts it will not surprise you that we have 
learned from experience to look with sympathy and faith upon 
all movements toward Christian unity, and that as Methodists 
we have stood ready to make advances toward a larger union. 
Perhaps for that we are not as yet prepared, but sooner or later 
we believe that the prayer of Christ will be fulfilled, "that they 
all may be one," and with that fulfillment will come a more 
glorious and successful day than the fathers of Methodism, 
prophets of God though they were, have ever dreamed. "Eye 
hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the 
heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for those that 
love him." 



A REVIEW OF THE EXISTING 
SITUATION 

EARL CRANSTON, D.D., 
Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church 

COLLINS DENNY, D.D., 
Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South 



A REVIEW OF THE EXISTING SITUATION 

Earl Cranston, D.D. 

[It will be observed by those who have read my little book, 
Breaking Down the Walls, that I have in this paper drawn very 
freely on its pages. This because the facts had not changed, and be- 
cause I could not improve the presentation of them, and to avoid 
ground already covered in other papers, leaving my notes super- 
fluous. — E. C.J 

Mr. President and Brethren : 

Much has already been said that would be pertinent under 
the topic now before us, but it has fallen to Bishop Denny and 
myself to speak with more definiteness on some aspects of the 
situation. 

I am especially concerned that the convention shall have a 
clear perception of the principal difficulties in our way. To this 
end it will be necessary to review in part the work of the Com- 
mission on Federation. 

We may begin with that significant meeting in Baltimore in 
December, 1910, when the commission of our church determined 
to press the matter of unification strongly, believing that the 
time had come to discover, if possible, what were the real ob- 
stacles in the way of closer affiliation. 

But prior to their entering upon that inquiry the commissions 
came to this joint statement: "We are mutually agreed that 
the churches represented by us are equally apostolic in faith and 
practice, and have a common origin in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church organized in 1784; that they are joint heirs of the 
traditions and doctrinal standards of the fathers and have 
proved their loyalty to the Evangelical faith and spirit which 
characterized early Methodists." This language, with its con- 
nections, was reported by our Commission to our General Con- 
ference of 1912, and was approved by that body in its adoption 
of the report of its Committee on Federation, which commended 

71 



72 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the commission's report as "an admirable statement of the pres- 
ent situation and resulting obligations." You note that I say 
"this language with its connections" was so reported and ap- 
proved. 

But while approving the statement and the negotiations that 
followed, the General Conference gave no answer whatever as to 
the accompanying "suggestions" concerning unification, which 
the joint commissions had later adopted, and which were also 
reported for its consideration. This omission, though sure to be 
misunderstood, as it has been, was doubtless wiser than would 
have been any expression after such hasty discussion as was at 
that session possible. It is to be observed that these tentative 
suggestions were absolutely new to many delegates, and prob- 
ably very few members of the Conference were prepared to deal 
with them intelligently off hand. Of these "suggestions" form- 
ulated at Chattanooga by the joint commission it must be said 
that they were intended to set forth what then seemed the only 
basis upon which further negotiations might be conducted. 
They were not regarded by either party as complete or ideal. As 
Bishop Denny has so carefully emphasized, they were "not in 
any sense a Plan." 

With one item omitted, these "suggestions" were formally 
approved by the General Conference of the Church South at its 
last session — 1914 — as containing, in principle at least, a basis 
of reorganization, and as such, were proposed for acceptance 
by our next General Conference. This direct overture from our 
sister Methodism, for union on the basis thus tentatively out- 
lined, makes it immediately imperative that the merits of the 
plan be discussed fully and fairly. Above all other considera- 
tions in that discussion should be the loyal purpose to seek God's 
way and follow his will. An issue which so vitally concerns his 
Kingdom on earth is not to be determined by arguments drawn 
from worldly expediency. 

The item omitted in the Southern General Conference action 
referred to the colored membership of our church, the Methodist 
Protestant Church, or of any other body that might come into the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 73 

movement. The suggestions of the joint commission, as will be 
seen in item three, provided for the colored membership a place 
in the organization, as one of the proposed "Quadrennial Con- 
ferences." The alteration indicated by the Church South favors 
a separate organization for the colored membership, with a fra- 
* ternal relation to the united churches. This is not the place to 
discuss that proposition. 

Probably no informed leader, North or South, expects that 
this now formally proposed basis of unification, which was slowly 
dug out of the debris of the old battlefield by the joint commis- 
sion, and which is now before our church for consideration, 
will be adopted without modification. But the plan should at 
least have patient study and should not be judged without a 
clear understanding of its meaning. 

It is one of the misfortunes of every movement which is of 
large importance, that multitudes of people are ready to express 
opinions without any definite inquiry as to new facts, and to 
declare convictions which are but a repetition of old prejudices. 

The only question for consideration by the sane and progres- 
sive Methodist people of to-day concerning any plan for unifi- 
cation is, what is its practical working value? 

Again referring for a moment to these now famous "sug- 
gestions," there are here present those who will remember the 
care taken by the joint commission to guard against any wrong 
impression as to their significance. 

We were not commissions authorized by the General Confer- 
ences to perfect a plan for Union. We were at the beginning of 
a great task which we felt must some day, God willing, be com- 
pleted. All through the discussion, as in our final deliverance, 
we were very solicitous that our conclusions should not be taken 
to mean more than was intended. 

How much irrelevant discussion might have been saved if all 
who have written and spoken concerning these suggestions had 
gone back and read all the commissions had said in regard to 
their work. 

You who have read Methodist history well know that it has 



U A WORKING CONFEBENCE ON THE 

not been the habit of Methodism to try to regulate evil. Its 
method with all evil has been prohibitive. We have had little 
patience with expediency, or with the plea of impracticability 
when reforms have been under discussion. It is only in dealing 
with the great evils that beset Methodism itself that, handi- 
capped by inherited conditions, we have resorted to a method of 
regulation. It must be admitted that our success has not been 
satisfactory. I refer to the effort at federation. 

Following the opening up of fraternal relations between the 
two churches, strong commissions were created to ascertain, and, 
if possible, remove the causes of local friction, and to provide 
against their recurrence. Various federation methods and meas- 
ures suggested by the commissioners were adopted by the two 
General Conferences. The Common Hymnal, Catechism, and 
order of service were hailed with joy; but while they offered a 
spectacular demonstration of nearer approach, the movement did 
not prove effective for peace. 

The cooperative relations established in China, Korea, and 
other mission fields, were not followed by an abatement of 
troubles in the home territory. When at last it became plain 
that joint occupancy of any home field meant competitive opera- 
tions and constant irritations just as before, it was decided to 
establish a court of arbitration. 

By reciprocal action of both General Conferences the Federal 
Council of Methodism was constituted. It was ordained that 
this tribunal should have power to hear and finally determine all 
cases of conflict arising between representatives or congregations 
of the two churches; and all parties concerned were adjured 
by the two General Conferences to respect the decisions of this 
Council, which should consist of three bishops, three min- 
isters and three laymen from each church. For the time, at 
least, the grave and delicate duty of conducting such arbitra- 
tional proceedings was assigned to the members of the already 
existing Commissions on Federation. 

Thus a court of six bishops, six ministers and six laymen 
was established. Tt will be readily seen that in entering upon 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 75 

this method of finally determining all cases of conflict in the 
field, by a joint tribunal, the Church South made a distinct con- 
cession, since it was thus yielding by so much its claim to the 
exclusive occupancy of Southern territory. Of this concession 
sufficient account has not been made in the discussions that have 
dealt with the functions of the Council. It was the South that 
proposed this court of adjudication, with final authority. Our 
own General Conferences accepted the proposition in the spe- 
cific terms — as I recall — used by the General Conference of the 
Church South. 

It is therefore lamentably unfair to say that the Southern 
brethren have conceded nothing toward bringing about better 
relations. 

Theoretically, the plans for federation and arbitration were 
well conceived, and back of them was a sincere purpose; but it 
is in their application that all methods must be tested. As 
early as 1910 the joint commissions on federation felt "com- 
pelled to admit that results had not met the demand of the 
times nor the expectations of the people." The "concrete case" 
is a stubborn barrier to every attempted reform. It was soon 
realized that the "far-flung battle line" of Methodism is manned 
by souls trained and sensitized to the long-roll call to "fall in" 
wherever there is a "falling out." They are not always amen- 
able to long-distance suggestions from the council room of court- 
eous commissioners who have been holding converse with God as 
well as with each other. They are in a different atmosphere. 
Somebody's "rights" have been invaded. What American can 
endure that? Blood is up, the battle joined, and the local mis- 
chief done — just as aforetime. Federation methods arrive too 
late to serve as a preventive. As a corrective they fail, as a 
matter of course, where the voice of Christ has already been lost 
in the din of conflict. 

What next? The Federal Council — according to the treaty. 
Admirable in conception — it is only truth to say that no court 
can communicate saving grace to human nature — and that is 
the nature that embroils churches. It must also be said that 



76 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

in itself, any ecclesiastical process of arbitration between two 
such conspicuous organizations involves long delay, and great 
expense, and may end in executive impotence — if the litigants 
prove recalcitrant, and at the last uncivilly resort to civil law, 
where the issue involves property interests. In that event the 
council has neither funds nor authority to protect its decisions 
in the courts ; and if it had, the State laws are not always made 
to conform to church regulations as to titles and trusteeships. 

Nor is it an easy undertaking to bring together eighteen 
busy men at a date convenient for all of them and hold them 
for days at a time, even for so important a duty. Again, the 
proceedings of such a court must be so orderly, and the records 
required as a basis for their judgment, so accurate and so full 
as to be reviewable if need be by the civil courts. Thus, at the 
outset the council could not go forward at all without rules of 
procedure for its own orderly government, as well as for the 
guidance of churches seeking its intervention. Pending the 
formulation of such rules it became apparent that to hear all 
the complaints laid before the council would necessitate perpet- 
ual sittings. Hence, in the absence of General Conference legis- 
lation providing for preliminary inquiries for the local sifting 
and settling of as many cases as possible, the council had to 
insure its own efficiency by so framing its rules as to require 
that such preliminary hearings be had whenever possible. This 
made it absolutely necessary that careful records of these initial 
proceedings, including the evidence and pleadings in full, should 
be furnished to the council. In order to supply actual needs no 
less than four full copies must be prepared. These records and 
pleadings being voluminous, the expense of providing them 
becomes a very considerable item, taxable to the local churches 
concerned. 

Another factor in the process is time. Every appeal must be 
prosecuted with strict regard to the rights of the appellee. There 
must first be due notice; next, sufficient time to secure evidence, 
make answer, and prepare pleadings; then more time for evi- 
dence, citations, and pleadings in rebuttal, and re-rebuttal, and 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 77 

copies of all these for both parties, as well as for the council — 
and all this must be done by correspondence between busy men 
with whom other affairs are first. Then there must be time for 
the council to be called — subject to the existing engagements 
of eighteen men — bishops, ministers, and laymen. Then more 
time for the hearing and the transmission of the verdict. What 
happens meanwhile where the case originates is not taken into 
this account, but not one ever heard of a revival of scriptural 
holiness as a concomitant of such proceedings. Finally, when a 
verdict is at last rendered, of what spiritual value is a peace thus 
attained ? Is it peace or sullen acquiescence ? 

Now a word as to those rules of procedure. There was an out- 
cry in some quarters against some of these rules. "Why, you 
propose to have star-chamber proceedings." Such critics evi- 
dently thought it would be better to admit the public and the 
reporters to hear the details of such dissensions and spread the 
story of local troubles all over the land for worldlings to gloat 
over, and for Christian people to read for their spiritual edifica- 
tion. It was plain that there would also be a demand for the 
presence of professional attorneys ! This did not savor of Chris- 
tian methods of reconciling troubles. Bishop Denny has given 
you the outcome of the first case. 

Let no one dismiss their recital as irrelevant to unification. 
This involved, cumbersome, prolonged, and expensive process is 
the inevitable penalty of the present relations of these two sister 
churches. Forty years' experience in "fraternity" must prove 
something. What appears is (1) that these churches cannot live 
side by side without ever recurring outbreaks of the denomina- 
tional competitive consciousness; (2) that formal fraternity is 
but a first-aid recourse, not a remedy; and (3) that even com- 
pulsory arbitration gives little promise of better results than 
the festering of local sores to the point of incurability during 
tedious and expensive litigation, and spread of the infection 
indefinitely. 

Thus the fifty-years' war, rooted, as are all wars, in selfish 
competition, is left to go on. In this year of grace, while the 



78 A WOEKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

oldest Christian nations are proving that the phrase "civilized 
warfare" is a tragic mismating of words, it is our shame that 
six millions of Methodists should add to the general chaos by 
confessing that "fraternity" and "federation" are also mere 
verbal illusions by which they have been deceiving themselves 
and the world as to their spiritual unity. Disillusionment can- 
not now be far ahead. Verbal diplomacy has its bounds. Will 
the next stage be straight war without regard to treaties, the 
fortifying of strategic points, recriminations and reprisals, and 
Methodist brotherhood left a byword for another generation? 
It is a soul-sickening outlook. When Paul found a law in his 
"members" warring against the law of his mind his extremity 
drove him to Christ. Will Methodism find her own peace in 
the Christ she preaches to men ? Not if a partisan construction 
of legal "rights" is to exclude Christ and his teaching from the 
problem; not if either church is to act in the spirit of a com- 
mercial convention; not if leaders who would rather carry spear 
and shield than wear the guerdon of the Kingdom are to dictate 
terms; not if either church is to seek first a vindication of its 
own past or present, or any partisan advantage for its people or 
their assumed interests. In short, if these two churches are to 
find Christ as their Peace and Peacemaker, they must come to 
him in God's way, not in any preconceived way of their own — 
just as both have so long preached to other offenders. And they 
must talk less against each other and pray more for each other. 
This happy transformation the preachers can bring to pass if 
they will, and if they are fit to preach at all, they will. 

But our experience with federation will prove of value if it 
has taught us that between alienated brothers heart reconcilia- 
tion is the divine cure, not such treaties as strangers make; and 
that the evil of family strife which we recognized as such when 
we first sought to regulate it, is, like other evils, not to be extir- 
pated by temporizing methods which give the evil a legal stand- 
ing. We should just here recall our conclusive reform argument 
that we give liquor a legal standing when we try to regulate it. 

No family feud can be healed by deliberately planning to per- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 79 

petuate it. Even leaving out of thought our undeniable and 
officially declared family relationship, and regarding ourselves 
merely as two Christian churches placed side by side, does not 
avail to save our consistency. Our plight becomes even more 
humiliating as we think of the wrangling of our rival repre- 
sentatives in the presence of sinners to whom they are preach- 
ing the gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation, and of our tribal 
apostles of grace who are "spreading scriptural holiness" under 
protection of treaty guards to keep them safely apart! Is the 
picture too vivid? 

Our General Conferences deplore strife and forbid acts of 
unbrotherly aggression, but the churches go on perpetuating 
antagonistic interests and influences, to maintain which remains 
a test of loyalty and service to the men who face each other in 
the field, singing, "Sure I must fight if I would — win," as a 
response to the General Conference duet, "Blest be the tie that 
binds!" And we call this Christianity in the twentieth cen- 
tury! Is it not more like a bold attempt to sanctify ecclesias- 
tical militarism as a peace propaganda? We may expect con- 
tention as long as these churches continue to accept strife as 
the normal condition between them. Of course it will be stren- 
uously denied on both sides that they do this. Peace declara- 
tions will be cited and treaties quoted; but it will remain true 
that every declaration of desire for harmony and every treaty in 
the interest of peace is a confession that the existing status is 
not one of peace. Nor can it be made to appear that either 
church has ever considered the words of Christ as applicable to 
itself under such circumstances, so long as both inconsistently 
assume that this status must continue — at least until one or the 
other shall yield its contention, or both shall find grounds of 
expediency stronger than the voice of conscience or the appeals 
of their Christian brotherhood have yet proved to be. Is this 
the best that our religion and Methodist statesmanship can do 
to relieve a shameful and intolerable situation? May God save 
the General Conferences of both churches from all implacables, 
and from counselors in whose vision properties and charters and 



80 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

dignities and offices and preachers' chances and historic ghosts 
loom larger than the cross of Christ and the law of love. 

Brethren, there is a psychology of war from the dangers of 
which even churches are not exempt. 

I hold in my hand the action taken by two of our Conferences 
in the South — possibly by others also. The brethren on the fir- 
ing line do not mean to do wrong, or to say ugly things, but 
they are soldiers. In these resolutions they formally express 
themselves as "convinced that the rules adopted by the Federal 
Council of Methodism far exceed the requirements of Christian 
cooperation and the intention of the General Conferences, and 
if enforced they would prove disastrous to the work of our 
church throughout the South." There speaks the soldier on 
guard. Who can blame him — as a soldier? But mark you, 
these resolutions were adopted before even a single case had 
been heard, or the Rules, which related simply to order of pro- 
cedure, had been tried, or a single verdict rendered. In such 
a mental state the brethren naturally declared also their lack 
of confidence in the court, for they say: "We therefore request 
that if the council be continued, the membership be selected 
from impartial and systematic sources." (They probably wrote 
"sympathetic," not "systematic," as this copy reads). Thus 
fall six bishops, six ministers, and six laymen — all of whom, 
up to that fateful action, had held respectable relations to their 
churches. But in the same trench with their remains lies the 
wisdom of two General Conferences. As a further safeguard 
against "disaster to our church in the South," the brethren 
memorialize General Conference "to so alter Paragraph 563 of 
the Discipline that the powers of our administrative officers may 
not be arbitrarily limited or the acts of our board and trustees 
in the development of their work be questioned or restrained." 
Hence they request the omission of the words, "and also to have 
full power to hear and determine finally without appeal." No 
questions to be asked, no restraints imposed on "the development 
of their work," whatever it mav cost elsewhere. 

With all the horrors of the war in plain vision some Ameri- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 81 

cans madly risk travel, on private business or for pleasure, on 
belligerent vessels, expecting millions of men to be ready to die 
to vindicate their right to travel under such conditions. So it 
seems that our "right" to develop our work in the South must 
be maintained, without any restraints, at whatever cost to the 
Kingdom of God on earth, even at a time when the churches owe 
to the world an example of conciliation and peace by arbitration. 
Another feature of the present status is presented in the fol- 
lowing action by the leaders of our colored membership, in 
convention assembled at Nashville, Tennessee: 

We are neither unmindful nor unappreciative of the great services 
and personal sacrifices of our General Superintendents in the interest 
of our work, and more especially of those whose episcopal residences 
are in the Southland; nevertheless, it is our sincere and earnest 
conviction that indigenous and racial episcopal supervision is abso- 
lutely essential for the fullest development of the work of our field, 
and we therefore approve of the proposed amendment for "Bishops 
for Races and Languages," 1 and request our Board of Bishops to 
submit the same to the Annual Conferences of the church during 
the fall of 1915 and the spring of 1916, and earnestly pray their 
adoption. 

In the same paper from which this report is taken the Editor 
(Colored) remarks: "It has been repeatedly said when legisla- 
tion affecting our interest is before the church, that f the colored 
people do not know what they want.' If we agree on any prop- 
osition en masse, then we are accused of voting solidly. If we 
divide our vote, especially on a proposition affecting us, however 
large the majority may be, it is said we do not know our own 
mind." 

Now these brethren insist that after fifty years schooling 
they do know their own minds, and perceiving that they cannot 
have a General Superintendent for supervising the work among 
themselves, they have openly and lawfully and in good temper, 
asked the church to grant them bishops of their own color, to 
supervise the work of their own people. 

1 As proposed by the Mississippi (Colored) Conference and supported by all the Colored 
Conferences thatihave voted upj,to this date. 



82 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

There should be no tangling that question. We may have any 
kind of supervision we want in mission fields, but these hundreds 
of thousands of our American colored people whom we have 
brought to this frame of mind, have a right to ask and receive 
what they ask, and every white Methodist should heed their 
petition, and at least read up their case before he allows him- 
self to antagonize their request. I believe in granting it, as 
just and therefore expedient, whatever its bearing on our other 
problems. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 83 



A REVIEW OF THE EXISTING SITUATION 

Collins Denny, D.D. 

The invitation to prepare this review of the existing situation 
of the relations of the American Methodist churches contained 
the request that 

we should like to have indicated what, if anything, has actually 
been done by any of the Methodist bodies toward bringing about a 
closer union. It should take account of fraternal greetings and of 
cooperation on the field. 

This paper, by the terms of the invitation, is limited to thirty 
minutes. Several hours of barest outline in tersest statement 
would not suffice intelligently "to indicate what has actually 
been done toward bringing about a closer union." 

Summary of Some Steps Toward a Closer Union 

Among many other steps it would be necessary to relate the 
following : The appointment by the unanimous vote of the Gen- 
eral Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 
1846, of the reverend Dr. Lovick Pierce as fraternal messenger 
to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in 1848, 

to tender to that body the Christian regards and fraternal saluta- 
tions of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South. (Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1846, pp. 100, 101.) 

The adoption unanimously by the General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in 1848, that it 

does not consider it proper, at present, to enter into fraternal rela- 
tions with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. (Journal Genl. 
Conf. M. E. Ch., 1848, pp. 21, 22.) 



84 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

The communication from Dr. Pierce to that General Confer- 
ence, that 

You will therefore regard this communication as final on the 
part of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. She can never 
renew the offer of fraternal relations between the two great bodies 
of Wesleyan Methodists in the United States. But the proposition 
can be renewed at any time, either now, or hereafter, by the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. And if ever made upon the Basis 
of the Plan of Separation as adopted by the General Conference of 
1844, the Church South will cordially entertain the proposition. 
(Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1850, p. 190.) 

The acceptance by the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, in 1850, of the ground taken by Dr. 
Pierce in his Communication (Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 
South, 1850, pp. 188, 193; and 1874, pp. 554, 555); the visit 
of Bishops Janes and Simpson to St. Louis, Missouri, in May, 
1869, bringing a communication from the Bishops of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church to the Bishops of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, in which communication it is said that 

the great cause which led to the separation from us of both the 
Wesleyan Methodists of this country and of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, has passed away, and we trust the day is not far 
distant when there shall be but one organization, which shall 
embrace the whole Methodist family of the United States. (Formal 
Fraternity, p. 9; Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1874, p. 555.) 

The reply of the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, which is too long to read and too important to sum- 
marize (Formal Fraternity, pp. 7-12) and of which only two 
sentences can be quoted : "Heart divisions must be cured before 
corporate division can be healed" and, "You could not expect us 
to say less than this — that the words of our rejected delegate 
have been ever since, and still are, our words" (McTyeire's 
History of Methodism, p. 680). 

The adoption by the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in 1868, of the following: 

Resolved, That the Commission ordered by the General Confer- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 85 

ence to confer with a like Commission from the African Methodist 
Episcopal Zion Church, to arrange for the union of that body with 
our own, be also empowered to treat with a similar Commission 
from any other Methodist Church that may desire a like union. 
(Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 1868, p. 264.) 

The presence of Bishop Janes and Eev. Dr. W L. Harris 
(afterward Bishop Harris) with credentials from this Commis- 
sion, at the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, in 1870 (Journal Gen. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 
1870, pp. 191, 196-199, 211, 230, 231; Formal Fraternity, 
pp. 12-18). 

The response of the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, of 1870 (see last reference). 

The adoption by the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church of 1872, of the following: 

To place ourselves in the truly fraternal relations toward our 
Southern brethren which the sentiments of our people demand, and 
to prepare the way for the opening of formal fraternity with them, 
be it hereby 

Resolved, That this General Conference will appoint a delegation 
consisting of two ministers and one layman, to convey our fraternal 
greetings to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, at its next ensuing session. (Journal Genl. Conf. 
M. E. Ch., South, 1874, p. 415; Journal M. E. Ch., 1872, pp. 403, 440.) 

The memorable visit of the fraternal delegates appointed by 
authority of that resolution — the Eev. Dr. Albert S. Hunt, 
Charles H. Fowler (afterward Bishop Fowler), and General 
Clinton B. Fisk — before the General Conference of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South, in 1874, thus breaking the ice 
that had frozen between the two churches since 1848, and which, 
thank God, has never since frozen at that point (Journal Genl. 
Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1874, pp. 415, 416). 

The resolutions adopted by the General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1874 (Journal Genl. 
Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1874, pp. 540-550, 553-563; Formal 
Fraternity, pp. 34ff.), which resolutions included the sugges- 



86 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

tion of the Rev. Dr. Alpheus W Wilson (now Bishop A. W 
Wilson) that a commission be appointed "to remove all obstacles 
to formal fraternity between the two Churches," out of which, 
the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
1876 concurring (Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 1876, pp. 
274, 278) came the Cape May Commission (Formal Fraternity, 
pp. 58, 59). 

The Cape May Commission itself, at which was adopted unan- 
imously a 

Declaration and Basis of Fraternity between said churches, 
namely: Status of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and their coordinate relation as 
legitimate branches of Episcopal Methodism: 

Each of said Churches is a legitimate branch of episcopal Meth- 
odism in the United States, haying a common origin in the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church organized in 1784. 

Since the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
was consummated in 1845, by the voluntary exercise of the right 
of the Southern Annual Conferences, ministers and members, to 
adhere to that communion, it has been an evangelical church, reared 
on scriptural foundations, and her ministers and members, with 
those of the Methodist Episcopal Church, have constituted one 
Methodist family, though in distinct ecclesiastical connections. 
(Formal Fraternity, p. 67; Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 
1878, pp. 89-92.) 



which action deserves the encomium of Joshua Soule touching 
"the spirit of peace, brotherly kindness, and charity, which 
marked the adoption by the General Conference of 1844 of the 
'Plan of Separation/ as a scene of the truly moral sublime" 
(Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 1848, p. 134). 

The approval by both General Conferences of the work of 
the Cape May Commission, and that the action of that com- 
mission was final (Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1878, 
p. 89; Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 1880, p. 160). 

The initiation by the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, of 1894, of a commission on federa- 
tion, every word of which was written by the Rev. Dr. E. E. 



UNION OP AMERICAN METHODISM 87 

Hoss (now Bishop Hoss) (Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 
South, 1894, p. 117, 128, 217-219). 

The invitation on May 11 and 16, 1908, of the General 
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church to the General 
Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church "to renew or- 
ganic fellowship with the Methodist Episcopal Church/' that 
the two churches should become "organically one" (Journal 
Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 1908, pp. 315, 622). 

The response, dated May 22, 1908, of the General Conference 
of the Methodist Protestant Church suggesting that "this appeal 
be carried on to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and 
to other Methodist bodies in America" (Journal Genl. Conf. 
M. E. Ch., 1908, p. 379). 

The adoption subsequently on May 30, 1908, by the General 
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1908, "that 
the time for organic union with the Methodist Episcopal 
Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, does not 
seem to have fully come" (Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 1908, 
p. 622). 

The meeting of the Commission on Federation representing 
the two episcopal Methodisms at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, on 
July 6, 1910, and the official visit to that meeting of Rev. Dr. 
T. H. Lewis, of the Methodist Protestant Church to suggest an 
early joint meeting of the commissions of the three churches (A 
Record of All Agreements Concerning Fraternity and Federa- 
tion between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, p. 26). 

The meeting of the commissioners of the three churches in 
Baltimore, Maryland, in December, 1910, and of the presenta- 
tion to that meeting of a communication from the commis- 
sioners of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which com- 
munication occurs the statement that they 

are ready to take up with our brethren of the other churches the 
question of organic union, which we regard as the para- 

mount object of this meeting. (A Record of All Agreements, etc., 
p. 27.) 



88 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

The adoption by the full commission of the three churches 
there assembled, that 

it appears to be our imperative duty earnestly to consider the expe- 
diency and practicability of some form of unification that will 
further allay hurtful competition and conserve all vital interests. 
(A Record of All Agreements, etc., p. 28.) 

The appointment at that time of a special committee of nine, 
consisting of Bishop Earl Cranston, Rev. Dr. John F. Goucher, 
and Mr. R. T. Miller of the Methodist Episcopal Church; Rev. 
Drs. T. H. Lewis and M. L. Jennings, and Mr. E. R. Harris of 
the Methodist Protestant Church; and Bishop E. E. Hoss, Rev. 
Dr. Frank M. Thomas, and Mr. M. L. Walton of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, with instructions 

if found practicable, to bring to this Joint Commission a plan for 
submission to the General Conferences and people of the respective 
churches, said plan to provide for such unification, through reorgan- 
ization of the Methodist Churches concerned, as shall insure unity 
of purpose, administration, evangelistic effort, and all other func- 
tions for which our Methodism has stood from the beginning. (A 
Record of All Agreements, etc., p. 29; Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 
South, 1914, p. 260.) 

The meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, January 18, 1911, of this 
special committee of nine, with Bishop Walden substituted for 
Doctor Goucher, and Mr. W- G. M. Thomas for Mr. Walton 
(A Record of All Agreements, etc., p. 29). 

The presentation to the special committee of nine by Bishop 
Cranston of the following paper as a suggested outline for a 
program of procedure : 

What is our aim? Answer, Unification. 

By what process? Ans., Reorganization. 

What is the most direct and orderly method of testing the prac- 
ticability of such unification? Ans., (1) Let us see if we can agree 
upon some constitutional basis of government. (2) This secured, 
let us consider points of agreement and disagreement in matters 
of expediency and polity, with a view to their adjustment where 
necessary. (3) Let us then proceed to construct a book of Discipline 
in essential features, adapting and eliminating parts of existing 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 89 

Disciplines with reference to ends deemed most desirable. (4) Take 
up property and institutional interests. (A Record of All Agree- 
ments, etc., p. 32.) 

The five papers presented by the three commissions at the Cin- 
cinnati meeting (A Record of All Agreements, etc., pp. 33-39). 

The following report unanimously agreed upon by the nine 
commissioners : 

To the Joint Commission on Federation of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. 

We, the undersigned, your committee of nine, appointed by you 
at your session in the city of Baltimore in December, 1910, with the 
following instructions, "to consider the causes which produce fric- 
tion and waste and injury rather than promote the common cause — 
namely, the spreading of Scriptural holiness through these and 
other lands — and, if found practicable, to bring to this Commission 
a plan for submission to the General Conferences and people of the 
respective Churches, said plan to provide for such unification through 
reorganization of the Methodist Churches concerned as shall insure 
unity of purpose, administration, evangelistic effort, and all other 
functions for which our Methodism has stood from the beginning," 
met in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, on January 18, 1911, and spent 
three days in careful, prayerful discussion of the task assigned to us. 

After considering at some length the causes which produce 
friction and waste and injury, we were enabled to unanimously 
agree upon the following suggestions. The magnitude of our task 
and the time at our disposal prevented the consideration of other 
elements involved in a complete plan of unification through 
reorganization. 

1. We suggest, as a plan of reorganization, the merging of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, into one Church, to be known 
as the Methodist Episcopal Church in America or the Methodist 
Church in America. 

2. We suggest that this church shall have throughout common 
Articles of Faith, common conditions of membership, a common 
hymnal, a common catechism, and a common ritual. 

3. We suggest that the governing power of the reorganized 
Church shall be vested in one General Conference and three or four 
Quadrennial Conferences, both General and Quadrennial Conferences 
to exercise their powers under constitutional provisions and restric- 



90 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

tions, the General Conference to have full legislative power over all 
matters distinctively connectional, and the Quadrennial Conferences 
to have full legislative power over distinctively local affairs. 

4. We suggest that the General Conference shall consist of two 
houses, each house to be composed of equal numbers of ministerial 
and lay delegates. The delegates in the first house shall be appor- 
tioned equally among the Quadrennial Conferences and elected 
under equitable rules to be provided therefor. The ministerial 
delegates in the second house shall be elected by the ministerial 
members in the Annual Conferences, and the lay delegates by the 
laity within the Annual Conferences, under equitable rules to be 
provided therefor. Each Annual Conference shall have at least one 
ministerial and one lay delegate. The larger Conferences shall 
have one additional ministerial and one additional lay delegate for 

every ministerial members of the Conference, also an additional 

ministerial and lay delegate where there is an excess of two thirds 
of the fixed rate of representation. All legislation of the General 
Conference shall require the concurrent action of the two houses. 

5. We suggest that the Quadrennial Conferences shall name the 
bishops from their several jurisdictions, the same to be confirmed 
by the first house of the General Conference. 

6. We suggest that the Quadrennial Conferences shall be composed 
of an equal number of ministerial and lay delegates to be chosen 
by the Annual Conferences within their several jurisdictions accord- 
ing to an equitable plan to be provided for. 

7. We suggest that Annual Conferences, whose boundaries shall 
be fixed by the Quadrennial Conference, be composed of all traveling, 
supernumerary, and superannuated preachers within their prescribed 
boundaries, and that the principle of lay representation in the 
Annual Conferences be recognized. 

8. We suggest that neither the General Conference nor any of 
the Quadrennial Conferences be invested with final authority to 
interpret the constitutionality of its own actions. 

E. E. Hoss, Frank M. Thomas, 

Earl Cranston, T. H. Lewis, 

R. T. Miller, M. L. Jennings, 

W. G. M. Thomas, S. R. Harris. 
John M. Walden, 

(Minutes of the Joint Federation Commission, Chattanooga Meet- 
ing, pp. 15, 16.) 

Time does not permit any discussion of these great events, nor 
even of such a passing reference to much that is of importance. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 91 

This brings me to the matter which I understand I am briefly 
to present, for my last communication from the committee to 
arrange for this conference says : 

It would be quite proper for you to present the proposed, plan 
of action with your interpretation upon it, showing the temper, 
purpose, and reasons which prompted the action. 

Adopted Suggestions for Unification by Reorganization 

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, May 10-12, 1911, the commis- 
sioners of the three churches met to consider the report of the 
special committee of nine. 

The following members were present: Bishop J. M. Walden, 
Bishop Earl Cranston, Bishop C. W. Smith, Dr. W. W. Evans, Dr. 
R. J. Cooke (now Bishop Cooke), Dr. G. A. Reeder, J. A. Patten, R. T. 
Miller, F. M. Hayes, of the Methodist Episcopal Church; Dr. T. H. 
Lewis, Dr. M. L. Jennings, Dr. D. G. Helmick, Dr. C. D. Sinkinson, 
S. R. Harris, J. J. Barge, J. E. Peterson, W. N. Swift, of the Meth- 
odist Protestant Church; Bishop A. W. Wilson, Bishop E. E. Hoss, 
Bishop Collins Denny, Dr. F. M. Thomas, Dr. C. M. Bishop, Dr. W. J. 
Young, W. G. M. Thomas, R. S. Hyer, W. B. Stubbs, of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. (Minutes of the Joint Federation Com- 
mission, Chattanooga Meeting, p. 13.) 

At the close of the first day, Bishop Wilson being sick, Bishop 
R. G. Waterhouse took his place. On the last day, Mr. R. P. 
Purse was substituted for Mr. Hyer, and Rev. Doctor W E. 
Thompson for Dr. Young. (Minutes of the Joint Federation 
Commission, Chattanooga Meeting, pp. 19, 23.) 

For three days, with three sessions each day, the joint com- 
mission prayed and thought and discussed and conferred, and 
finally with a rare unanimity agreed on a report. Naturally, 
necessarily, the result was a compromise. 

The purpose was to achieve what can be summarily stated in 
the words of the venerable and beloved Dr. Lovick Pierce, who 
unable to be present in person as a fraternal delegate to the Gen- 
eral Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1876, 
wrote to that body, 



9.3 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

There is but one Episcopal Methodism in the United States of 
America, and you and we together make up this one Methodism. 
(Formal Fraternity, p. 44; Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 1876, 
p. 418.) 

and to widen the proposed union by including another branch 
of Methodism. We aimed to bring the fragments of what is 
really one church into a unity cemented by love — the sole bond 
of true union, and to do this without loss of self-respect, or the 
sacrifice of anything of real worth in any branch of Methodism. 

Some of the reasons for the attainment of this purpose were 
that unquestioned wrongs would be righted, frictions would be 
allayed, waste would be reduced, the mouths of adversaries would 
be stopped, and the churches would be brought more nearly into 
harmony with the will of God, whose will we all profess to 
seek, and by his help to do. Mutual love and respect would be 
promoted by closer acquaintance, by the opportunity to know 
the unselfishness, the high-mindedness, the loyalty and devoted- 
ness, and devoutness of the people of other branches of Meth- 
odism whom now we all too slightly touch and appreciate. 

The temper of the men can be spoken of without shame, indeed 
with Christian pride. All loved Methodism, each loved his own 
branch. All were men of conviction, courage and readiness to 
speak their own minds. There was no lack of respect for one 
another, and difference of opinion did not become a personal dif- 
ference. Arguments were separated from the persons advanc- 
ing them, and at times were ground to powder, or burnt in the 
fire of friendly controversy. Divisions were not always along 
church lines, for often commissioners from the same church 
were in opposition. Those brethren came to know one another, 
to respect one another, to love one another. Limit the union to 
the men who have conferred, and it is possible, yea, it is prob- 
able that they could unite with a shout. 

After the adoption of the report, which is too well known to 
need quotation, the commissioners of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, offered the following: 

In view of the gravity of the whole situation, and of the possi- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 93 

bility of arousing unbrotherly discussion and of consequent loss and 
damage to Methodism through the presentation of plans not fully- 
matured, 

Resolved, 1. That we issue an address stating that while we have 
been able to reach conclusions on some very important points, there 
are other matters too serious to be adjudicated without long and 
careful consideration. 

Resolved, 2. That we report the same fact to our General Confer- 
ences and ask for more specific instructions. 

After a short recess to consider this paper, the Commissioners 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church announced their acceptance, 
with a slight verbal change, of the first resolution, and their 
desire to substitute for the second the following: 

Resolved, secondly, That the executive officers of our respective 
commissions be authorized to call later meetings of the joint com- 
mission when deemed expedient, and that all that has been or may 
be developed through our deliberations be reported to our several 
General Conferences as the basis of such specific action and author- 
ization as may to them appear desirable. (Minutes of the Joint 
Federation Commission, Chattanooga Meeting, pp. 23-25.) 

This paper thus amended was adopted. No later meeting of the 
joint commission has been called. 

The joint commission published an address, headed, "To the 
Methodists of the United States, Greeting." In this address 
occurs the statement : 

As in duty bound, we shall make a full report of our conclusions, 
as far as we have been able to reach any conclusions, to the 
General Conferences. (Minutes Chattanooga Meeting, p. 27; Journal 
Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1914, p. 262.) 

The Actions of the Thkee General Conferences 

Again and again the joint commission announced that its 
report was to be submitted to each of the three General Con- 
ferences. 

To the General Conference of the Methodist Protestant 
Church in 1912 the commission of that church 



94 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

submitted a printed copy of the proceedings of the joint commission 
in full. It added its own report, one item of which was as follows: 
Fourth, this commission, being instructed to make suggestions for 
further action to the General Conference, desires to offer the fol- 
lowing: 

(1) The series of suggestions agreed upon by the joint commis- 
sion are confessedly but a fragment, relating only to a small part of 
the organization of the new church. And they are presented for the 
consideration principally of the two episcopal Methodisms, since the 
first great problem with them is to discover a form of General 
Conference organization under which they can live harmoniously 
together. With this phase of the problem the Methodist Protestant 
Church has little immediate concern, having itself no sectional 
question, and its fundamental principle of equal lay representation 
being freely conceded in all the plans proposed. Your commission 
does not deem it necessary, therefore, that this General Conference 
should express itself on the merits of these suggestions at this time. 

(2) The second suggestion of your commission is that this General 
Conference continue this commission, or appoint another, for the 
purpose of carrying on to completion the negotiations so auspiciously 
begun, repeating our declaration of 1908 that we are "ready to go 
as far and as rapidly in consummating a universal Methodism as 
the interests and integrity of our own denomination will permit"; 
and asserting as the fundamental condition of this movement that 
the two episcopal Methodisms must come into agreement before we 
can go further than we have gone. This report was adopted. (Letter 
from Rev. Dr. T. H. Lewis to Collins Denny, giving copy of the 
action of the Genl. Conf. of the M. P Ch., of 1912; Journal Genl. 
Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1914, p. 262.) 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
of 1912 took no action on this report of the joint commission. 
(Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 1912, pp. 741-744; Journal 
Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1914, p. 2G2 ; Episcopal Address 
to the Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch. South, Journal, 1914, p. 37.) 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, in 1914, by a unanimous vote, adopted the suggestions 

as tentative, but nevertheless containing the basic principles of a 
genuine unification of the Methodist bodies in the United States, 
and especially of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, by the method of reorganization, as 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 95 

feasible and desirable, and hereby declares itself in favor of the 
unification of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, in accordance with this general plan of 
reorganization, and in favor of the unification of all or any Meth- 
odist bodies who accept this proposed plan after it has been accepted 
by the Methodist Episcopal Church. However, we recommend that 
the colored membership of the various bodies be formed into an 
independent organization holding fraternal relations with the re- 
organized and united church. (Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., 
South, 1914, pp. 263, 264, 259.) 

It remains for the General Conference of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church to take such action as in its wisdom seems to be 
best. 

Some Needed Clearances 

To keep the record clear two points must be noticed : 
(1) That the report of the joint commission is not, as has 
been so widely, so constantly, and so emphatically asserted, the 
"Plan of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South." That report 
is the result of long deliberations of the accredited commis- 
sioners of the three churches, and no one of the three is entitled 
to the praise, or is worthy of the blame that rightly attaches to 
the report. For the report the three churches are equally 
responsible. The report of the joint commission came before 
the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, after it had been submitted to the other two General 
Conferences, because the accredited commissioners of that church 
had agreed with the accredited commissioners of the other two 
churches that the report should be submitted for action to each 
of the General Conferences concerned. It was submitted to the 
General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, not as 
"the Plan of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South," for the 
General Conference of the latter church had not then met; but 
as the report of the joint commission, one third of whose mem- 
bers were the accredited commissioners of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, acting as such by the appointment of that church 
and in its name, and because those commissioners agreed with 



96 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the commissioners of the other two churches to take it to their 
General Conference. 

It should be noted again that after the adoption of the series 
of suggestions the commissioners of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, regarded the "whole situation" for Methodism 
as so "grave" that they requested a reference to the several Gen- 
eral Conferences "for more specific instructions." The com- 
missioners of the Methodist Episcopal Church "thought it not 
good" to make this reference and to have this delay. "The con- 
tention was" not "so sharp between them that they departed 
asunder one from the other," but the commissioners of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, yielded their judgment to 
that of the commissioners of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
and the report went to the three General Conferences. (Min- 
utes of the Joint Federation Commission, Chattanooga Meet- 
ing, pp. 23-25.) 

(2) The report is not a "plan," was not intended to be a 
"plan," but was specifically declared to be "merely the result of 
our explorations in search of a basis of union." (Journal Genl. 
Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1914, p. 262; Chattanooga Meeting, 
p. 26.) 

One of the last acts of the joint commission in its Chattanooga 
meeting was to pass the following paper, bearing the signatures 
of "Collins Denny, E. E. Hoss, Earl Cranston, R. J. Cooke, and 
R. G. Waterhouse" : 

When we began the consideration of the report of the sub- 
committee of nine, resolutions were adopted for the purpose of 
guarding against the misconception of our people or by the public 
of the significance to be attached to the conclusions reached, and 
it was declared that the report dealt only in outline with but a 
part of the principal questions involved, being simply illustrative 
of the present status of our deliberations, and was to be taken 
simply as suggestive of possible lines of procedure; now, therefore, 

Resolved, That at the close of our deliberations we emphasize 
the statement that the suggestions here outlined are only tentative, 
that in no sense are these suggestions a plan, but merely the result 
of our exploration in search of a basis of union. 



UNION OF AMEBICAN METHODISM 97 

It has not been possible to think through even the questions that 
have come before us. Other questions not yet touched will need to 
be weighed, analyzed, and carefully stated. (Minutes of the Joint 
Federation Commission, Chattanooga Meeting, pp. 26, 28.) 

As a matter of course, any one of the three churches, without 
the slightest impropriety, can do with this report as the College 
of Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in the 
Episcopal Address to the General Conference of 1914, properly 
said that General Conference could do : 

It is for you to determine, therefore, whether you will indorse 
what your Commissioners have done or modify it or ignore it or 
completely reject it. (Journal Genl. Conf. M. E. Ch., South, 1914, 
p. 37.) 

Federation 

Federation that at first seemed to promise some solution of 
existing difficulties, has been a failure. Not to the commissions, 
nor to the General Conferences has the failure been due. Agree- 
ments have been made and ratified, but performance has not 
followed. An existing or prospective footing in a community has 
been stronger than solemn agreements. The commissioners have 
been ready to act, but the forces behind the commissioners have 
been opposed. The sentiment of the church has not been ripe 
to yield a possible advantage or to correct a possible wrong. 
Worse now is the condition than in 1894, when federation was 
first officially proposed, because the points of friction are now 
more numerous and perhaps more acute. The Federal Council 
of Methodism has not been able to settle even a single case, and 
its last action seems to be its expiring breath. That last action 
was the following: 

Inasmuch as the first case to come for decision before the Federal 
Council of Methodism has been so complicated, and has also 

been embarrassed by the publication and editorial and other dis- 
cussion in the church press of the contentions of the church in 
question before the case came to a hearing, thus causing misunder- 
standing and arousing sentiment in the church, — this Federal 
Council is convinced that any decision it could reach in this case 
under existing circumstances would be futile, and would thus hurt 



98 A WOEKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

American episcopal Methodism more than it could help either of its 
branches. 

Resolved, That it is the sense of the members of the Federal 
Council of Methodism, until the authority and binding power of the 
Federal Council as constituted by the two General Conferences of 
our respective churches, is fully recognized by the entire appointing 
power and the boards which make appropriations it would be unwise 
and involve needless expense to have further sittings. (Minutes 
Federal Council of Methodism, Atlanta Meeting.) 

A Question Larger than that of the Union of 
American Methodism 

Methodism sadly needs great statesmen, men who can impel- 
lingly tell her what she ought to do. The history of Methodism 
shows that the centrifugal force has often overbalanced the 
centripetal. The bond of union has been broken by divisive 
tendencies too strong to be held in check. In the past she has 
drawn geographical and national lines, and lines neither geo- 
graphical nor national. In 1828 Canada Conference was set 
off as a separate church established, and from that year the 
Methodists of these United States have exercised no jurisdiction 
nor conducted any work in that country. This peaceful separa- 
tion was "in consequence of their union with a foreign ecclesias- 
tical government." (General Conference Journal, vol. i, p. 
338.) 

At that time the government of the church was not sufficiently 
elastic to preserve a union embracing two worldly govern- 
ments. In 1907 the Japan Methodist Church was set off as a 
separate ecclesiastical government, and American Methodism 
will work in Japan only till Japanese Methodism can provide 
for its own needs. How long will it be before China arid India 
and the several States of South America, and Africa itself, will 
have separate, distinct, and independent Methodising, with which 
American Methodism will have no other connection or fellowship 
than the exchange of fraternal delegates? The Method isms of 
England, Australia, Canada, and America have the strong tie 
of a common doctrinal belief, not even yet welded into a system, 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 99 

and possibly never to be thus welded. They have in common the 
Wesleys and their blessed work. But with the need of the world 
manifest to us must the fragments of Methodism continue to 
work as fragments, and to break into additional fragments? 
Is it not long past the time to end the dispensation of fragmen- 
tation? Cannot these separate bodies be brought at least into 
the unity of a constellation, harmonious within itself, yet as a 
bound whole circling in its orbit of light around the Son of 
God ? Among the millions of Methodists is there no eye so clear- 
sighted and far-sighted as to point out the way to a greater 
union which will at the same time preserve the self-respect and 
efficiency of the several parts? Is a decennial meeting of an 
Ecumenical Methodist Conference the best the Methodism of 
the world can do ? Is it all that Methodism ought to do ? For 
centuries the Church knew no geographical limits, the religion 
of our blessed Lord was bound by no imperial ties. Not even 
the broad Empire of Borne confined the Church of God. It 
was catholic in its divine call, catholic in its proposed extent, 
catholic in its love for men, catholic in its remedical message. 
Are we ever to see the scattered fragments of Methodism re- 
united? Oh that God would speedily send Methodism a man 
who would lead us to gather up the fragments that remain. 

The More Excellent Way 

Is union desirable? Would it be beneficial? Does not our 
Lord pray that believers on Him may be made perfect in one? 
If there could be a union under one Methodist government, and 
if those thus united did not love one another, would not that 
be a Synagogue of Satan rather than the Church of God ? Can 
a union without love be a union in God ? Nay, rather would not 
such a union be a union of sinners, and so a unity in Satan? 
A marriage without love is misery or divorce, possibly both. 
Is union the root with love as the flower, or is love the root with 
union as the flower ? Is it not clear that our Lord makes union 
the result of perfect love, not the means to it? 



100 A WORKING CONFERENCE 

Oh that our Lord would lead us into that more excellent way, 
a way more to be desired and greater than the tongue of angelic 
eloquence, a way more to be desired and greater than gifts and 
accomplishments, more to be desired and greater than the 
bestowment of all our goods, or even than martyrdom itself, the 
way of love. Only as we walk together in that way can we reach 
a union that God will bless, or that man can respect, or that we 
can continue. Blessed is the man whose fingers mend the rent 
in the seamless robe of Christ. 

Forgiveness of sin, on which through the mercy of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, our all depends, is not simply pardon, not simply 
escape from the wrath to come, it is power from God to do His 
will, and His will is that we love one another, and love is out- 
ward pointing and outward pouring. 

We are become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and deri- 
sion to them that are round about us. 

How long, Lord? remember not against us former iniqui- 
ties: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are 
brought very low. 

Help us, God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name : 
and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake. 

Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? 

So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks 
for ever: We will show forth thy praise to all generations. 
Psalm 79. 4, 5, 8-10, 13. 

Amen and amen. 



THE PROBLEM: 
SECTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS 

JAMES W. LEE, D.D., 
Saint Louis, Missouri 

MR. HANFORD CRAWFORD, 
Saint Louis, Missouri 



THE PROBLEM: SECTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS 

James W. Lee, D.D. 

Anyone can easily see that it would be difficult to find two 
words respectively representing realms of reality further apart 
than climate and unity. Climate stands for weather, atmosphere, 
material environment. Unity represents the practical together- 
ness of personal spirits related to one another in such a way as 
to form one body, which when fitly joined together and com- 
pacted by that which every member supplies, according to the 
effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase 
of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 

Climate has to do with that which is without us; unity with 
that which is within us. Physically, we live, and move, and have 
our being in climate. Spiritually, we live, and move, and have 
our being in unity. As dependent on climate, we are exclusive. 
No two of us can breathe the same atmosphere at the same time. 
As dependent on unity, a thousand of us, a million of us, a 
billion of us, are just the same as one. Enough people to fill a 
closed room completely would use up all the climate capable of 
supporting life in it, at once. But if all the people on the 
planet were to get together into the same body, instead of limit- 
ing the life of any individual member thereof, each one's part 
would be so increased as to be equal to that of the whole. No 
two squirrels can be in possession of the same hickory nut and 
eat it at the same time and no two persons can be in possession 
of the same pocket-knife and use it at the same time; but all 
the millions of all the ages can share the same knowledge, find 
inspiration in the same love, rejoice in the same hope, and be 
sustained by the same courage, at one and the same time. 

Climate represents an indefinite aggregate of undifferentiated 

parts, side by side, each indifferent to the others. Unity stands 

103 



104 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

for an organism of differentiated members, each implying and 
pointing to the others. It is only intelligent, self-conscious per- 
sons who can come together in the bonds of unity. In such a 
living system of unity each individual member of it becomes a 
subject, and finds for its objects all the others in the same body, 
and thus each subject in the body can go out among all the 
objects with which it has identified itself without losing itself. 
Each member of the social whole, bound into one body, makes 
all the others at once instrumental to and also integrant por- 
tions of its own life and being. 

It is true, however, that though the distance between climate 
and unity is so great, the one may, in some remote, indirect way, 
influence the other. Buckle, in his History of Civilization, 
attempted to show that human character and achievement were 
but an affair of climate. He accounted for the differences and 
temperaments in people on the ground of soil, atmosphere, 
weather, and physical environment. He proceeded upon the 
assumption that an equation can be formed between one's food 
and one's thought, between the atmosphere one breathes and the 
religion one experiences. But the theory of Buckle is not sus- 
tained by the teachings of history. Civilization is far more 
than a natural product. 

If the history of Israel, from the time of Abraham to the 
coming of John the Baptist, was but a natural product, as easy 
to be accounted for as the grapes, the figs, the olives we find 
growing in Palestine, why is it that the grapes, the figs, the 
olives are still growing there, while we find no more men like 
Moses, David, and Isaiah to lead, to rule, and to prophesy? 
There are the same Judaean hills and valleys. The physical 
conditions that made the corn and the honey and the cattle are 
there, and there still are found the corn, the honey, and the 
cattle. But no man like Moses evermore climbs Sinai to get the 
law on tables of stone, or Pisgah, to see the Promised Land 
and die. No man, after God's own heart, like David, any more 
minds sheep, watches the stars, and writes poetry there. Never 
more do we find there a man like Isaiah, struggling on his knees 



UNION OF AMEBICAN METHODISM 105 

in prayer, that he may rise up to give his people the miracles 
of God. A shallow, degenerate, and fickle people dwell amid 
the groves and the vines where once lived the great race which 
gave to men their ethics and the outlines of true religion. 

A modern French writer attributes the gayety of France, the 
cheerfulness of its outlook on life, to its sunny climate. He 
said it was the gloomy North, with its fogs and clouds, that is 
responsible for the dismal theologies, for the severe, forbidding 
moralities, that have held sway in those sunless realms. And yet 
it was amid the radiant light and glory of sunny France that 
John Calvin was born, who conceived perhaps the severest theol- 
ogy ever formulated since the days of Augustine. It was away 
up in cold and dark and bleak Koenigsberg, Germany, that 
Immanuel Kant grew and produced the most hopeful philosophic 
system of thought in modern times. 

Professor Ellsworth Huntington, of Yale University, in a new 
book entitled Climate and Civilization, which he has just written, 
takes practically the same position as that defended by Buckle. 
He claims that the downfall of Judaea, Greece, and Kome was 
owing to changes of climate. There cannot be any great differ- 
ence between the climate prevailing now in Palestine and that of 
twenty-five hundred years ago, because the fruits and trees and 
animals we find there to-day are the same we know to have 
been there in the time of Isaiah. Thomson's Land and the Book 
was written to show that the Holy Land of to-day is the best 
commentary on the Palestine of the great days of the chosen 
people. 

The temptation to find some cause for the ups and down of 
civilization, outside the man's own will has been great through- 
out all past ages. Our first parent — poor old Adam — has, from 
time immemorial, served as a handy and convenient form of 
Fate for many people. This is the old refrain of the herd, that 
makes a god of its feebleness and bows down before it. Man 
has found it much more in accordance with his indolence and 
love of ease to trace the disorders of the universe to some par- 
ticular form of Fate than to think of himself as responsible 



106 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

for them and charged with the duty of regulating them. Buckle 
and Huntington make a god of weather and bow down to that. 
The downfall of Judaea, Greece, and Rome was not due to any 
changes of climate, but to the sins of their people. Climate 
doubtless does, in a limited way, stimulate or depress the bodies 
of people, but it is in unity that we find the truth from which 
and in relation to which we can account for the ups and downs 
of civilization. An invisible unity enfolds and saturates us all, 
and is to the world of humanity what the law of gravity is to 
the world of matter. Toward this unity man tends by the high- 
est and best that is within him. He can break with the impulse 
that draws him toward it, but in so doing he violates the struc- 
ture of his moral and spiritual being and moves toward chaos 
and ruin. The universal organization of the human race into 
one social whole is the one grand far-oif event toward which 
the whole creation and the whole process of history moves. 

The cold climate of the North and the warm climate of the 
South have not really had any determining effect in the direction 
of producing differences in temperament or points of view 
among the people living in the two sections of our common 
country. Certain ideas, sentiments, and opinions prevail in 
the South at one time, and afterward cease to dominate that 
section, and become prevalent in the North. For instance, it is 
well known that the Southern people were the original aboli- 
tionists; but afterward, they favored — or at least accepted — the 
institution of slavery. The Trustees of the Georgia colony pro- 
hibited slavery in the Territory until 1749, when it was proposed, 
under certain restrictions, to permit slavery. The movement to 
introduce slaves into Georgia so aroused the people that the 
citizens of Frederica, on St. Simon's Island, in Georgia, were the 
first in the history of this country to sign a protest against the 
introduction of slavery. This document contained these words : 
"Introduce slaves, and we cannot but believe that they will 
return one day to be a scourge and a curse to our children and 
to their children's children/' 

In 1787 Virginia ceded to the Federal Government all that 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 107 

part of the country, known as the Northwest Territory, out of 
which were formed the States of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, 
and Michigan, with the understanding that African slavery 
should never be introduced into the territory. Yet in 1802 a 
convention was held in Vincennes, Indiana, to consider the ques- 
tion of petitioning the government to rescind the ordinance of 
1787, and permit the introduction of slaves into the Territory 
of Indiana. At this convention a resolution was unanimously 
passed to ask Congress to abrogate the 1787 ordinance by which 
slaves were prohibited. William Henry Harrison, afterward 
President of the United States, was appointed chairman of a 
committee to visit Washington and intercede with the govern- 
ment to repeal the ordinance of 1787 as far as Indiana was con- 
cerned. John Eandolph, of Virginia, was chairman of the com- 
mittee to which the Indiana Petition was referred, and as chair- 
man he recommended that the request be not granted. 

Forty-five years after the citizens of Frederica signed a pro- 
test against the introduction of slaves into the colony of Georgia, 
Eli Whitney, having just graduated from Yale College, came 
down to the State to live in the home of Mrs. General Nathaniel 
Greene. There he saw the Negroes picking with their fingers 
lint cotton from the seed. This quickened his genius in the 
direction of seeking to devise a method of getting the lint cotton 
from the seed in a better way. So, in about 1794, Whitney 
secured a patent for his cotton gin. This invention had at once 
the practical effect of increasing the value of Negro labor to a 
tremendous extent. The climate of the North was not friendly 
to the Negro's comfort and well-being; and, besides, his labor 
was not valuable there. The Southern people, therefore, grad- 
ually came to regard slavery as not an unmixed evil. They 
thought the Negro far better off as a slave to humane masters 
in the South than as a slave to barbarian masters in Africa. 
They thought it better for the Negro to be in America, learning 
to wear clothes, speak the English language, and experience the 
Christian religion, than to remain in his native country, a naked, 
ignorant, and superstitious savage. So the owning of slaves in 



108 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the South, instead of being thought a crime by Southern 
masters, was looked upon as an opportunity. 

At the General Conference of 1844 it was known that Bishop 
James 0. Andrew, through marriage, had come into the posses- 
sion of slaves. This fact led to the division of Methodism into 
two separate ecclesiastical bodies. Because the Negroes' labor 
was not profitable in the cold North, and was profitable in the 
warm South, the Negroes in 1844 were nearly all living in the 
Southern States. So, in a roundabout sort of way, we may say 
that the division of Methodism and the secession of the Southern 
States from the Northern States sixteen years after the division 
of Methodism was an affair of climate if by any stretch of poetic 
license we may think of the Negro as so much human weather. 
Had there been no Negro in the United States, there would have 
been no division of Methodism and no division of the States of 
the Union. 

If the Southern side of Mason and Dixon's line had been the 
cold side and the Northern side the warm side, then the Negro 
would have remained in the North and the South, left without 
property-rights in his labor, would doubtless have been the sec- 
tion in which a conscience in favor of freeing the Negro would 
have been developed. So the only way the matter of climate 
has had anything to do in favor of or against the unity of 
Methodism has been in just so far as the elements of rain, atmos- 
phere, sunshine, and climate have, in one way or another, man- 
aged to get themselves packed away into the lives of our Brothers 
in Black. It is easy to note differences, North and South, in 
mental weather and ecclesiastical weather, but these inferior 
forms of climate have not been produced by outside environ- 
ment, but by the breathing, palpitating climate brought by the 
Negro from Africa. 

If the different forms of outside weather prevailing North 
and Soutli had been determining influences affecting the char- 
acter and achievements of the people of the two sections, then 
there would have been uniformity of results ; but there have been 
no important facts to indicate the slightest bearing of physical 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 109 

environment on our character, or sentiment, or achievement. 
Take, for instance, the period beginning with the first President 
of the United States down to the Civil War, and fifty years after 
the Civil War, down, say, to 1910, and we will see that if 
what the people of the two sections did in the years before the 
war and during the fifty years after the war had been owing to 
climate, we would find results similar in both sections. We 
note, on the other hand, an entirely different state of things pre- 
vailing in the country up to 1860 from what has prevailed for 
the fifty years down to 1910. 

Up to the beginning of the Civil War the South had control 
of the government. The South had a majority of presidents 
chosen. The South had fifty years of Southern presidents while 
the North had twenty-one. Of judges of the Supreme Court 
sixteen were from the South and twenty-one from the North, 
though nearly four fifths of the judicial business had arisen in 
the North. The South had thirteen of the vice-presidents and 
the North twenty-nine. The South had sixteen speakers of 
the House, the North twelve. Of attorneys-general the South 
had eight, the North eleven. Of foreign ministers, the South 
had forty-five, the North seventy-seven. The South had a 
majority of the higher officers in both the army and the navy, 
while the larger proportion of the soldiers and the sailors had 
gone from the North. Of clerks, auditors, and comptrollers 
filling the executive department the records show that of the 
persons thus employed the South had a majority, and yet with 
but one third of the white population of the republic. 

Now, since the close of the war the North has had forty-seven 
years of presidents and the South, up to 1910, one. Of justices 
of the Supreme Court, the North since the war, up to 1910, has 
had twenty-four, the South seven; of vice-presidents the North 
has had eleven, the South one; of presidents pro tern, of the 
United States Senate the North has had sixteen, the South one; 
of speakers of the House of Representatives the North has had 
ten, the South two; of secretaries of state the North has had 
sixteen, the South not one; of secretaries of the treasury, the 



110 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

North twenty- two, the South two; of secretaries of war, the 
North, nineteen, the South, three; of secretaries of the interior, 
the North eighteen, the South two; of secretaries of the navy, 
the North fifteen, the South two; of secretaries of agriculture, 
the North five, the South not one; of postmasters-general, the 
North twenty-four, the south three; of attorneys-general the 
North twenty, the South three. Up to 1910 only three Southern 
men had gone as ministers to Russia since 1861. Not a Southern 
man had gone to the Court of St. James. Only two Southern 
men had gone as ministers to Austria. Only two Southern men 
had been sent as ministers to France. Not a solitary Southern 
man had gone as minister to the German Empire, not one to 
Italy, only two to Spain, and the same proportion holds good 
for the consular service of the country from 1861 down to 1910. 
Climate had nothing to do with the differences in states of 
mind which resulted in keeping the South in control of the 
government for more than sixty years before the war and the 
North in control of the government for more than fifty years 
after the war. The Negro has been the innocent and uncon- 
scious occasion of whatever there are of sectional characteristics, 
differences in points of view, temperament, etc., North and 
South, which may in any sense be considered as factors in the 
movement for or against Methodist unity. It has been sug- 
gested that in this paper the question be discussed of what 
weight, if any, is to be attached to the differences in temperament 
and points of view as found in the Northern and Southern 
sections of our country in so far as they may be considered as 
factors in the way of union. In response to this, it is enough 
to say here that our little, local, passing, perishing, tempera- 
mental differences, however brought about, should have no more 
weight with us, as Methodists, in comparison with the import- 
ance of unity, than the light of a lot of tallow candles should 
have with men interested in the general subject of illumination 
in comparison with the light of the sun. 

Unity is infinitely deeper and richer than climate, because it 
represents that which is spiritual, while climate stands for that 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 111 

which is material. When the race gets together in the bonds of 
unity, man will be able to subdue and change the world's climate 
to suit his convenience. Man has already entered sufficiently 
into the meaning and spirit of unity to find himself able, through 
the great Assouan Dam, to change the climate of Egypt. It 
would be much easier to prove that civilization based on unity 
can make a climate of its own than to prove — as Professor 
Huntington has sought to do — that climate, variable, cold, or 
otherwise, can make a civilization of its own. It is claimed by 
great engineers that the whole South American continent will 
soon be made as pleasant and healthy a region in which to live 
as can be found in any part of the world. When the soul ceases 
to be impotent through isolation and self-centered selfishness, 
when it comes into harmonious reciprocal relation with other 
conscious spirits, it finds itself in touch with tides of influence 
and sources of power by the aid of which it can make its own 
subjective climate, and besides objectify it, project it outside of 
itself, as a substitute for the climate nature makes. 

How may we overcome whatever differences there are between 
the sections of our common country so that, as Methodists, we 
may get together in one ecclesiastical body ? In the first place, 
we need a new orientation of our thinking, through means of a 
wider perspective and a more comprehensive view of our essen- 
tial value as citizens of eternity, and not merely citizens of time. 
I may illustrate what I mean by an incident referred to by 
Professor Arthur Schuster, the President of the British Asso- 
ciation, in his address at Manchester, England, last September. 
In closing a most remarkable utterance on the importance of 
emphasizing the ideal in the practical affairs of life, Professor 
Schuster said: "An American friend, who possessed a powerful 
telescope, one night received the visit of an ardent politician. 
It was during the time of a presidential election, Bryan and 
Taft being the opposing candidates — and feeling ran high. 
After looking at clusters of stars and other celestial objects, and 
having received answers to his various questions, the visitor 
turned to my friend : 'And all these stars I see/ he asked. 'What 



112 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

space in the heavens do they occupy?' 'About the area of the 
moon/ 'And you tell me that every one of them is a sun like 
our own V 'Yes/ 'And that each of them may have a number 
of planets circulating round them like our sun?' 'Yes/ 'And 
that there may be life on each of these planets?' 'We cannot 
tell that, but it is quite possible that there may be life on many 
of them/ After pondering for some time, the politician rose 
and said : 'It does not matter, after all, whether Taf t or Bryan 
gets in/ Here was a man whose thought world was revolution- 
ized and whose nature was changed by one look through the eyes 
of an astronomer into the heavens." 

Our earth is a minor planet of a minor sun; there are hun- 
dreds of millions of similar suns, scattered through the sky like 
sands of the seashore, many of them thousands of times larger 
than our own, with their own planetary systems, their own 
spheres of worlds. And then we can further enlarge our per- 
spective by a consideration of the time results which are no less 
suggestive. Man has been on this globe, according to geologists, 
for a great period of time, and instead of being near the end, he 
is apparently only at the beginning of his career. It is thought 
the earth will be a fit place for the habitation of man for three 
millions of years to come. 

If the Methodists of the United States could get rid of some 
of the provincialism and conceit which they share in common 
with other denominations, by a look into the vast spaces above 
us, and the long periods of time to the past of us and to the 
future of us, we would find it a very easy matter to dispose of 
our little temperamental, climatic differences. 

Not only is it necessary for the Methodists but for denomina- 
tions of all names to come into ecclesiastical or federative rela- 
tions with one another to-day, so that they may present, as by 
one voice, the order and hope and redemption of the gospel of 
Christ to the despairing and disintegrating world. Humanity 
was never so completely in the neighborhood, seemingly, of 
impending bankruptcy and ruin as at the present time. 

The human race is calling to the church for light, for leader- 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 113 

ship, for guidance, and in the presence of this insistent call 
from the very depths of humanity's soul the church should in 
reality be one in spirit. The old-time preachers used to say 
that it was necessary to be good to keep out of hell beyond the 
grave. We have arrived at a period in our history when we must 
preach that it is necessary to be good, not only to keep out of 
hell, but even to live on this side of the grave. For six hundred 
years gunpowder and its derivatives have ruled the destinies of 
mankind. Nikola Tesla said, in an interview the other day, 
that the war in Europe is the last one in which the explosive 
power of chemicals will decide the issues. In the next war, he 
declares, electricity will be the force of organized slaughter. 
And when the next war comes, there will no longer be any 
question of the annihilation of armies. It will be one of the 
extermination of whole populations. It will not be a matter of 
demolishing cities and fortresses, but a wiping out of whole 
nations, at one stroke, from the face of the earth. Scientists, 
in fact, offer one alternative. Either man must conquer the 
tiger and the hyena in him, get rid of his murderous instincts, 
and cease from war, or else the human race will perish in a 
universal act of suicide, self-slain by the unspeakable agencies 
of destruction with which science will inevitably arm us. It was 
possible for man, as long as he was crude and ignorant, to live 
along on the earth, after a fashion, engaging in warfare; but 
since science has given him the knowledge it has of the destruc- 
tive forces available, either for his love or his hate, he must 
learn to express himself in accordance with the laws of love 
and live, or else descend to the animal level of existence, and 
express himself in accordance with the impulses of hate, and 
die. 

There will perhaps never come to us again a more favorable 
opportunity for the unification of Christians of all names and 
orders than we face to-day. The war in Europe has increased 
the mental temperature of all mankind to such a point that the 
soul of the race has reached a height in the human thermometer 
far above any mark at which it ever registered before. The 



114 A WOKKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

time to strike, we have heard, is when the iron is hot. The 
peoples of the globe are as different to-day from what they were 
two years ago as a piece of iron with enough fire in it to make 
it red hot is from a cold, ordinary black bit of metal. 

The soul of the human species is so quickened, so elevated 
above the humdrum rate of ordinary activity that it glows and 
radiates. As much history is being made in one day now as 
could be turned out in a thousand years of common time. Think 
of the Czar of Russia cutting nine hundred million roubles 
out of the revenue of his empire, and breaking at the same time 
the drink habit of 150,000,000 people in one minute, by one 
stroke of the pen. Think of the Pope of Rome sending his 
blessing to a North American Preparatory Conference of Protes- 
tants, as he did recently at a meeting held in Garden City, L. I., 
and expressing the hope that "All their disputes might be settled 
with prosperous issue, to the end that the mystical body of 
Christ be no longer suffered to be rent and torn, but that by 
harmony and cooperation of men's minds, and likewise by the 
concord of their wills, unity of faith and communion may at 
last prevail throughout the world of men." 

Think of Sir David Beatty, vice admiral in the British Navy, 
turning from his regular line of activity long enough to plead 
with his countrymen for a revival of religion; and in addition 
to these instances, think of the innumerable other unparalleled 
events that are taking place to-day, and you will see that 
human nature is more pliant, more susceptible to the shaping 
power of outside influences than it has been before in a thousand 
years. All mankind would come to Christ and be converted 
to-morrow if invited so to do bv a united church. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 115 



THE PROBLEM: SECTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS 

Me. Hanford Crawfokd 

[Reference here is exclusively made to the proposed union of the 
two Methodist Episcopal Churches in the United States, and the 
Methodist Protestant Church. More narrowly this inquiry is to 
be limited to what are called North and South. 

In order to avoid repetition of long titles, it is understood that 
the word "North," when used, refers either to the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church or to the territory mainly occupied by it; and the 
word "South" to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, or to the 
territory mainly occupied by it.] 

Sectionalism 

The subject assigned to me is neither simple, sterile, nor 
foolish; though at first reading it may have seemed rather 
obscure. Sectional characteristics, out of which may grow sec- 
tionalism, do prevail throughout the United States. 

The late Bishop Hurst, in his History of American Meth- 
odism, volume iii, page 1264, published in 1902, writes: "In 
the civil as well as in the ecclesiastical domain the Southern 
minds held tenaciously to theories of government which were 
the very opposite of those espoused in the North." 

"Whatever the cause, the indisputable fact remains, without 
prejudice, however, to either section, that the South has always 
been clearly differentiated from the North in political opinions, 
social customs, and mental traits." 

The cotton-planter and the wheat-farmer are both agricul- 
turists of importance and power; but their interests are diver- 
gent, and legislation in their behalf is likely to be sectional. 

The coal-miner and the salmon-fisherman are alike, in that 
both bring up their wealth from the deeps; but the industrial 
problems presented in both cases are very different, 



(( 



116 A WOKKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Woodrow Wilson, in his Congressional Government, says: 
"If that Government be not careful to square its policy by rules 
of national welfare, sectional lines must and will be known." 

The latest dictionaries of our language cite the United States 
as the chief territory for the use of the word "sectional" in a 
governmental, political, geographical sense. It is much to be 
feared that episcopal Methodism in this regard is not unlike 
the United States. Sectional characteristics there are in our 
communions; we should not blink the facts. 



Climate 

By climate we understand, according to authorized definition, 
The combined result of all the meteorological phenomena of 
any region, as affecting its vegetable and animal productions, 
the health, the comfort, pursuits, and intellectual development of 
mankind, etc." 

The study of the effect of climate on the body, mind, and 
character of man is age old. It is as if we were "ever learning 
and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." From 
the days of Aristotle down to the present, a multitude of writers 
have sought information and attempted generalizations regard- 
ing the influence of climate on human nature. Within the last 
ninety days Professor Ellsworth Huntington, of Yale University, 
distinguished traveler, geographer, and anthropologist, has pub- 
lished Civilization and Climate. Into this one volume have 
been condensed the corrected findings of several thousand pages 
of a dozen former publications, and in it he expresses the results 
of many years of wide travel and laborious investigation. His 
charts, diagrams, and maps, never before published, seem to 
establish with reasonable certainty quite definite relations be- 
tween climate and character, between geographical residence and 
some of the forms of physical, mental, and moral efficiency. 
Manufacturers, traders, ministers, teachers, sociologists, and 
economists will find in Huntington's pages ample material for 
reflection and many suggestions for experimentation. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 117 

Tempeeament 

Temperament is far more subtle, and much less easily defin- 
able, as an influence, than the two factors already mentioned. 
Temperament "is that individual peculiarity of physical organ- 
ization by which the manner of acting, feeling, and thinking of 
every person is permanently affected." Being essentially indi- 
vidual, rather than communal or national, temperament is not 
always accurately expressed when attributed to a group or organ- 
ization or society. Great religious leaders, Mohammed, Luther, 
Savonarola, Calvin, Wesley, Loyola, Asbury, Pierce, Soule, 
Capers, Simpson, Marvin, Tigert, have ever been men of marked 
individual temperamental quality; and yet how different their 
mystical qualities and how difficult to say that any one of them 
was really typical of the time in which he lived. Nevertheless 
no single human quality has to be so carefully considered and 
respected as temperament, when it is a question of carrying on 
either simple or complicated transactions in domestic economy, 
commercial enterprises, public affairs, or international nego- 
tiations. 

These three factors — sectional, climatic, and temperamental — 
do exist, and are bound to have influence on the negotiations for 
union now projected between the greater branches of American 
Methodism. But when an attempt is made specifically to name 
and classify the various characteristics and influences, it is found 
that these factors are intertwined or interwoven in such fashion 
that no two persons are likely to agree exactly in the classifica- 
tion. For this reason, I shall only consider a few facts growing 
out of the general subject of the paper, without necessarily 
attempting to classify them accurately under the three divisions 
defined in the opening paragraphs. A statement of some of 
the conditions that pertain to the two churches, and some dis- 
cussion of the means by which they may be improved, is per- 
haps all that really is expected. 

According to the United States census of 1910, there was no 
so-called Southern State except Texas and Maryland that had 



118 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

as much foreign-born population as five per cent; and no State 
outside the South that had as little foreign-born population 
as five per cent. By the same census, no Northern State had 
so much as five per cent of negro population; and practically 
90 per cent of the negro population (80 per cent of which is 
black and 20 per cent mulatto ) lives in the Southern States. 

The white population is increasing faster than the colored 
population in the Southern States, notwithstanding the numerical 
increase in both populations as shown by the latest enumeration. 
And accurate figures also clearly show that the white popula- 
tion is increasing more rapidly in the northern tier of the 
Southern States than in the States farther south. In other 
words, apparently, the black population, either because of the 
climate or for some other reason, is gradually but perceptibly 
being pushed farther south. 

A rather careful study of the last census, as to the families 
of Negroes that are fairly well conditioned, would also seem 
to indicate that the birth-rate in such families, and the death- 
rate as well, both are decreasing in much the same proportion 
as prevails in families of the white race in comfortable material 
circumstances and good general intelligence. 

The illiteracy map of the United States census for 1910 
shows that, while in the North the proportion is from three to 
twenty illiterates in one thousand of the population, in the 
Southern States the proportion is of thirty-three to one hun- 
dred and fifty in one thousand of the population. Without 
citing further statistics, these tables may suggest some reasons 
why, in the South, there is a strong compact leadership which 
exists in no other part of the United States. 

Leadership 

Quoting again from the History of American Methodism, we 
read: "Few ecclesiastical organizations have been established 
with so great a number of experienced and capable men to 
inaugurate its affairs as was the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South." 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 119 

The history and destiny of the United States have been and 
are being influenced for all time by the exceeding brilliance and 
ability of individual leaders in all walks of life of Southern 
birth and training. But has the number of such leaders been 
in proportion to the population? 

Professor Scott Nearing, formerly of the University of 
Pennsylvania, and Professor Ellsworth Huntington, of Yale, 
have recently given special attention to what they term "The 
Geographical Distribution of American Genius," as of the date 
1912-13. According to these investigators, inherited ability, 
opportunity, and energy, with whatever each of these implies, 
are the three main conditions determining the numbep* of 
eminent persons in any community. We may not be willing to 
follow these professors in all their deductions, nor to grant the 
final accuracy of their figures in every particular. It, however, 
seems definitely indicated that, of the white population of the 
United States born from 1835 to 1875 (and therefore subject 
to classification within the last few years), the number of 
eminent persons born in each State shows a very much greater 
proportion in a given sixty thousand of population born in the 
States of the North than in the States of the South. South 
Carolina and Eastern Virginia alone are exceptions, and they 
but reach the average of the States in the North. These figures 
were prepared as part of a discussion of the effect of climate 
upon civilization, but they are cited here by me merely for their 
added bearing on two prominent characteristics which must 
influence the question of the union of the two churches. 

1. There is in the South an exceedingly capable, though 
numerically limited, strongly unified leadership, in the white 
race, which does not exist in the North. 

2. The relation between the white and the black races in the 
South is very different from the relation between these two 
divisions of the population in the North; but both of these 
relationships have a distinct bearing upon the question of the 
union of the churches. 

The strongly centralized leadership in the South must be 



1*0 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

acknowledged to be a tribute to individual ability. But we 
should not lose sight of some conditions, not individual, which 
have contributed to make this leadership continuous and efficient. 
The social conditions and the educational progress in the South 
as a whole have been undoubtedly markedly affected by climate, 
and have helped to make this leadership secure. The great 
Southern religions are intensely conservative. The southern 
races, even the greatest, have ever been intellectually conserva- 
tive — brilliant, logical, even deep, but not always aggressive or 
progressive. 

So our Southern people, particularly Methodists, are intensely 
loyal to their ecclesiastical institutions. In physical and moral 
courage none could be more daring, or more brave or independent, 
than they have been and are. But in the realm of ecclesiastics 
and religion they are far from radical, and do not hesitate to 
follow appointed or chosen leaders and bow readily to authority. 

At the General Conference at Oklahoma City, in 1914, the 
report of the committee on church relations, containing the 
proposal and plan for the unification of Methodism, was adopted 
after a relatively brief statement of explanation by the chairman 
and the presiding Bishop, and without discussion, by a unanimous 
vote. This was a great compliment to the North, but it is almost 
impossible to think of such a happening as this at the General 
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In that body 
there is slight traditional regard for authority; and no action 
of such commanding importance could be deliberately presented 
before the General Conference in the North without provoking 
prolonged discussion and some serious opposition. 

The North is made up of a great mixture of races; and even 
those of native ancestry are greatly varied and diversified by 
the differences in climate, geography, occupation, and policy 
of the East, the North, the West, and the Far West. The 
racially complex condition in the North is antipodal to the 
homogeneity of the white race of the South, about which Bishop 
Denny spoke so truthfully and affectionately in his fraternal 
address at Baltimore in 1908. 



TTNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM l2i 

All through the years of federation, the leaders from the 
South in the Commission on Federation, or in the later Federal 
Council, have never been at a loss to know what they might 
expect their constituents to approve. Far different with the 
members from the North; for the General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church does not hesitate to reject ruthlessly 
plans which its most cherished leaders have carefully considered 
and brought forward for approval; on the other hand, it not 
infrequently plunges headlong with relative rashness, into un- 
trodden paths, if it thinks that thereby it may more readily 
achieve immediate progress. 

In the next General Conference, at Saratoga Springs, three 
quarters of the delegates will be new, never having been mem- 
bers of a General Conference before. For the first few days 
a tremendous wave of climatic energy will sweep over the Con- 
ference. New men by the score will seek to put their untrained 
hands to parliamentary and legislative tasks, supremely con- 
fident of their ability to do anything that may be required. The 
Conference may be a week old before the men who really think 
and know, men of poise, judgment, and experience, will be able 
so to impress themselves on the body that thoroughly rational 
legislative work may be expected. 

Decisions in the South tend to unanimity. Northern deci- 
sions are rarely expressed but by majority opinion, and adverse 
criticism rarely ever ceases. This difference, whether sectional, 
climatic, or temperamental, however caused, is one with which 
it is necessary always to reckon, and which must influence nego- 
tiations. Compact, authoritative leadership in the South is no 
new thing; it harks back at least to the time of the origin 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

My friend, Dr. James W Lee, in an article in The Americana, 
says: "The real cause, however, of the separation of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church into two ecclesiastical bodies was not 
slavery, but the difference of opinion between the Northern and 
Southern sections of the church, as to the attitude the church 
should take toward slavery as a civil institution." And Dr. 



1?2 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

James M. Buckley, in the same encyclopaedia, speaking of the 
same debate, says: "During the discussion radically divergent 
views of the constitutional rights of the bishops came into view." 
These opinions, cited from two distinguished divines now living, 
are reliable, present-day testimony that this conception of a 
strong ecclesiastical leadership, with some special prerogative, 
is a characteristic of the church of the South. Assuredly, the 
Southern gentleman seems born to command, and knows how 
to inspire obedience. 

As a result of this tendency to adhere to leaders, and to unity 
of sentiment, we find in the Church South a consideration for 
and a theory regarding their bishops which does not prevail in 
the North. Even if the present power of the Southern bishops 
to act in the capacity of a court of temporary veto on consti- 
tutional questions were placed in the hands of some entirely 
independent judicial body, the conception of the office of bishop 
in the South would still remain quite a different thing from that 
with which the North is acquainted. It is true that there have 
been rumors of coming change, and some indications of unrest 
regarding this question in the South; but it still is one of the 
differences between the two churches which will call for careful 
consideration, and not be easy to adjust, in any negotiations for 
union. And if the union should include, at the same time, the 
Methodist Protestant Church, still more will it be necessary to 
have an entire revision of the church's conception of the general 
superintendency. 

Family Life 

Another Southern characteristic of great importance, close 
kin to this of leadership, is the inborn and inbred love of home. 
It may spring from or may be caused by the fact that, in a 
very especial sense, the whole South "lives at home." The 
divisive, dispersive, non-domestic method of living in hotels, 
restaurants, and apartments, so thoroughly a part of life in the 
North, has happily had little vogue in the South. Allied to this 
is the difference in attitude of our Methodist people, North and 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 123 

South, as to the relation of women to the church, to society, to 
education, and to business. Whenever Methodist union is seri- 
ously considered, the relation of women to church government 
and policy, and their right of representation, the same as men, 
will have to be dealt with upon the basis of the experience of 
the church which has, up to now, accorded her the larger liberty. 
In a peculiar sense, woman represents the home; and the home 
is the unit of the church as well as of societv. 

The North has lived through a quarter century during which 
women have been eligible to membership in the General Con- 
ference, and nearly half a century during which they have been 
qualified to vote for lay delegates to the General Conference. 
Who among us will question the immense advantage to our 
communion that this liberty to women has been, and when has 
it involved our church in any general or serious difficulty? 
In the overwhelming majority of cases in which women have been 
chosen as delegates to the General Conference, they have been 
elected by the votes of the men themselves in Lay Electoral 
Conferences, as a recognition of special adaptability, fitness, or 
devotion. At all times during this period women have un- 
doubtedly held the power of a voting majority among the mem- 
bers in the North, but never have they abused it; and the 
increase in their own activity and efficiency in the same period 
has really been beyond any man's power of calculation. 

There is another Southern characteristic which has to be 
reckoned with in the present negotiations. Having selected their 
leaders, the people follow them with devotion. Leaders in the 
South prepare with most thorough scholarship for the intel- 
lectual position which they propose to maintain; then defend it 
tenaciously; it sometimes even looks as if they persisted in con- 
tending for the logic of history when they should be more con- 
trolled by the logic of current events. 

Seventy years ago the legislation of 1844-1848 meant some- 
thing very definite to all, on both sides, who were party to its 
enactment. It is altogether probable that during the inter- 
vening years till now both churches have acted and adminis- 



l'?4 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

tered — so far as the Plan is concerned — differently than the 
fathers intended or could have foreseen. Looking back from 
the viewpoint of to-day, it is not difficult to find many facts that 
indicate aggression, neglect, or failure — unfraternal, un-Chris- 
tian, inexcusable facts. These facts make history; but they do 
not make to-day. We should not forget history; but we do not 
need to repeat it, or too often to rehearse it. We should learn 
from it; but we are not always helped by recalling too vividly 
or too carefully either its victories or its defeats. Life has more 
fruitful privileges and obligations than those of memory or 
recollection. 

The North, in dreaming of this church union, is not contem- 
plating a union of, for, or by, the past, but a union in and from 
the present, for the future. The North believes in the merger, 
and wishes to make it a union. It will have to make many 
concessions, in order to find a working basis, and they will be 
concessions indeed; but the North is prepared to find out what 
these concessions are, and then, in them, to do its part to render 
brotherly justice. 

As has been mentioned, the North is not racially a homo- 
geneous whole; far from it. Nor is it a compact unit, intellec- 
tually or ecclesiastically. Its mass is made up of many minori- 
ties. These, in the course of the years, keep one another in 
correction and under control, or, growing by the gradual spread 
of kindred sentiment, finally achieve the victory of a majority. 

Some of the leaders of the South, and not a few of their 
followers, make much of the danger of the obliteration of their 
church in the case of a merger; with those who argue thus, it 
is characteristic to stand on the defensive, as if in fear of ab- 
sorption and over anxious for the protection of the minority. 
It should not be forgotten by any one that, notwithstanding the 
great size of the Methodist Episcopal Church, it is after all 
controlled by ideas; and that men of ideas are by no means in 
the majority, nor are they always distributed as are the numbers 
of the population. The South can hardly fail to see that their 
own church unit, in any merger, would be a larger single unit, 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 125 

more compactly led, than any now existing, or than has ever 
existed, initially, in the church in the North. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church understands only too well 
the risk that it runs of being tremendously influenced, under the 
leadership of the brilliant minds in the South. But the North 
courts ideas; it welcomes progress; it has no fear of intelligent 
change. It seeks a genuine union, in which each part of the 
country and each group of its membership shall act upon every 
other part, and be itself in turn influenced by every other. 
Individuality cannot be lost; separate identity, in a genuine 
union, should and would, for both of us, finally disappear. 

The characteristics thus far mentioned, whether sectional, 
temperamental, or the result of climatic and geographical rela- 
tionships, are vastly important and of great influence. If, 
however, they are once fully and fairly stated, and their meaning 
for both churches indicated and acknowledged, the very state- 
ment itself would show what adjustments must take place in 
order to promise a harmonious solution. In the church, as in 
business or in government, there must "first be the willing 
mind." 

The Negro 

We now come to another characteristic, that, in essence, is 
fundamentally climatic; it has also become temperamental and 
sectional. It will certainly greatly affect the matter of union 
between the churches. It is the question, what shall become of 
the Negro, now in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in case of 
union, and what shall be the relation of the united church to 
the Negro in general? 

If the Negro were not now a corporate part of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, very little difficulty would be experienced in 
arriving at an affiliation with all Negroes desiring to worship 
according to Methodist faith and practice. This is, however, 
not the case. 

It is not the province of this paper to discuss the intrinsic 
merits of the colored race ; nor to forecast its future possibilities ; 



126 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

nor even to suggest what treatment, training, or assistance is 
best adapted to bring about the wisest Negro development. It 
is for me to indicate, if able, how the Negro question is related 
to the proposal for Methodist union, and how any negative or 
deterrent influence may be corrected, and how its helpful in- 
fluences may be strengthened. 

The Negro race causes political, economical, social, and reli- 
gious problems of far-reaching importance; and the Christian 
church in the United States is so related to society that it 
cannot fail to have interest in every one of them. If it had been 
possible for the Negro to be of great use in the North, he would 
undoubtedly have stayed there; or he would go there now in 
much larger numbers than has ever been the case. Climatic 
conditions make the South agricultural; the invention of ma- 
chinery, and particularly of the cotton gin, has made the South 
a chief cotton field for the world; made the use of the Negro 
increasingly profitable, and determined his geographical location. 

Several things, we do well to remember: 

1. The Negro did not bring himself to the United States. 

2. The Negro has a definite, necessary, climatic relation to the 
South, and seems destined to remain there rather than elsewhere. 

3. The Negro's advance in material prosperity, in industrial 
ability, in the development of his own race leaders, and in the 
decrease in his illiteracy — these have been among the marvels 
of the fifty years since emancipation. 

4. The Negro is by nature religious, and therefore more 
readily influenced by the church than by any other great reforma- 
tory influence. 

We have before us, in both churches, what we must recognize 
and acknowledge as an inevitable duty and task. Neither North 
nor South thinks for a moment that the Negro should be left 
without help, or that any hindrance should be placed in the 
way of his development. We do differ, however, as to the 
method, the degree, and the ultimate purpose of the help and 
the encouragement given. 

It is conceded, without argument, that the Methodist Epis- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 127 

copal Church may have made mistakes — even serious ones — 
during the last half century, in its manner of approach to this 
question ; but the large sums of money donated, the vast amount 
of labor expended, and the many human lives dedicated to this 
service, have all been given by the North with the holy motive 
of placing within the reach of the black man every opportunity 
of which he might prove to be capable. The Negro's ambitions, 
his desires, his outlook, and his vision, are human; why not 
give him a genuine human chance? 

The South, on the other hand, lives much closer to the Negro, 
perhaps almost too close for the clearest view; the South knows 
him intimately, and perhaps too well; may be influenced too 
much by the Negro's weaknesses rather than by the strength that 
is in him capable of development. 

There is a great difference between giving a man all the 
education and development that he can take, and giving him 
only what may be thought best for him to have. It is the 
difference between full manhood and childhood. May not the 
Negro by now have reached the period of vigorous youth, and 
require, and merit, correspondingly modified treatment? 

Final 

The few characteristics which it has been possible to treat in 
the time allotted do not make an inclusive list; but they are 
fairly typical of others that a more complete study would dis- 
close. Being in their nature, sectional, temperamental or 
climatic, or of mingled genesis, they are based on feeling, senti- 
ment, or opinion, rather than on reason or logic. This makes 
for difficulty in consideration and adjustment, but should not 
present insuperable obstacles if definite, cogent reasons for 
union can be proved. 

It is not best for any group of men, as a rule, to have their 
own way, or to be guided by their own undisputed opinion, for 
too long a period continuously. Broaden the area of country, 
vary the classes of people, from which is made up a consensus of 
opinion, and you have laid the foundation of more permanent 



128 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

progress, more accurate standards, and greater working efficiency. 
Both churches united would make a stronger body, because of 
the greater reciprocal gain from the action of mind on mind; 
from the vision of a larger purpose ; from the enormous momen- 
tum of a unified Christian program; from the possible impact 
of six million followers of John Wesley, singing, praying, preach- 
ing, as they go forward, banded together, to contend with the 
forces of evil. 

This holy purpose once conceived, formulated and initiated, 
all these perplexing characteristics can be fitted into some plan 
of adjustment, accommodation, and solution. Even the most 
delicate of all the questions — that of the Negro — can be answered. 
It needs to be definitely and finally settled by our churches that 
his relationship is to be determined by our doing for and with 
him exactly what is wisest, fairest, and best, not for the whites 
of the North or the whites of the South, but for the development 
and uplift of the Negro himself, and of his entire race — the 
Negroes themselves conferring about, agreeing to, and con- 
firming whatever decision is made. 

There is no exact parallel in history for the proposed union 
between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. Other churches were divided in the 
early sixties. Some have since become reunited; some have 
attempted a reunion and have failed; others, like ourselves, 
still remain separated. Apparently the only basis upon which a 
real union can be successful is the basis of a common Lord, a 
common love, a common life and faith. There is-, however, an 
instance not too dissimilar. 

When, in the fall of 18G5, after more than four years of 
separation, and while partisan feeling on both sides was acute 
and relations were most sensitive, the bishops of North Carolina 
and Arkansas and the Bishop elect of Tennessee came North to 
attend once more the General Convention of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, they came in opposition to 
the judgment of a majority of the dioceses in the South, and 
were themselves not at all certain how they would be received. 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 129 

So open-hearted and cordial was the reception, so manifest was 
the desire to avoid even a word that might be regretted, so 
careful was the North to prevent offense in any of the resolu- 
tions or discussions, so swiftly did the brethren from the South 
recognize the sincerity of the advances by the North, that it 
was truly the meeting of brothers — one time separated, now 
one family, with one aim. So may it be when our North and our 
South — brothers all — become one again. 

On this basis, whatever plan of union is adopted will be one 
of which none need be ashamed; and its fulfillment will be a 
task to which both churches and all races may enthusiastically 
and hopefully give their last endeavor. 



THE PROBLEM: CHURCH POLITY 

W. ASBURY CHRISTIAN, D.D., 
Richmond, Virginia 

DAVID G. DOWNEY, D.D., 
Book Editor, The Methodist Episcopal Church 



THE PKOBLEM : CHURCH POLITY 
W Asbury Christian, D.D. 

Methodism has never changed from the belief of its founder 
that no particular system of church polity is taught in the Word 
of God, and therefore no denominational claim of validity as a 
Christian church can rightly rest on its form of organization. 
With Methodism the real test has been and is doctrinal con- 
formity to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures and practice 
which becomes the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This uni- 
versal belief of the people called Methodists has produced two 
very noticeable results: the first is the agreement of Arminian 
Methodism of the world, and from its beginning until now, in 
the great essential doctrines, which has given the church its life 
and power; the second is its wonderful adaptability in church 
polity, which has enabled it at all times and under all circum- 
stances to meet the demands made upon it. Mr. Wesley himself, 
as the needs of the rapidly growing organization demanded, 
changed his polity to make more effective the gospel of Jesus 
Christ through the instrumentality of Methodism. Perhaps the 
most significant example of this was his ordination of Coke to 
the episcopacy for service in America. American Methodism, 
true to the spirit of its organization, has changed its polity 
whenever occasion demanded, and that various occasions often 
demanded a change is witnessed to by the many divisions of the 
Methodist body in this country. 

It is a poor rule that does not work both ways, and as the 
adaptability of Methodism has produced many divisions based 
upon differences in polity, can not the same adaptability, when 
the demand is urgent for a great united spiritual force called 
Methodism, take from the various divisions the best and most 
workable features of polity and out of them form one organiza- 
tion, great in its unity, divine in its spirit, and mighty in its 

133 



134 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

purpose of extending the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ? 
If this is the will of God concerning the Methodist people, it 
can be done, and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it shall 
be done. 

The question, therefore, which confronts the leaders of the 
Methodist hosts of to-day is, whether they will be the honored 
instruments in His hands of proving His good, acceptable, and 
perfect will, or whether they will decline the responsibility, cast 
away the opportunity, and forfeit the blessing which comes to 
those who learn to do His will? 

He who considers the task Herculean is woefully mistaken and 
blindly ignorant; the ancient hero never dreamed of an under- 
taking one tithe so stupendous. It will be accomplished only 
by self -consuming thought, by persistent effort, and by contin- 
uous prayer for divine guidance. A preliminary step in this 
work will be somewhat of a diagnosis of the case, in an examin- 
ation of our differences, and following this there must be an 
eclectic plan which would involve a certain amount of giving 
and of accepting on the part of all the bodies concerned. 

As between the two largest divisions of American Methodism, 
there are minor differences in polity which can be adjusted with- 
out a great deal of difficulty. One of these is in regard to the 
time limit of the pastorate. This has varied from one year or 
less, in the time of Asbury, to two years, to four, to six, to the 
removal of the limit. The Methodist Episcopal Church has 
removed the time limit of the pastorate and has restricted the 
district superintendent to six years in the same district, and not 
more than six years in any consecutive twelve. The Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, while adhering to the four years' limit 
in the pastorate, and the four years' limit of a presiding elder 
on the same district, is feeling the need of an extended time limit 
and also the need of a restricted consecutive term in the elder- 
ship. These needs have been brought to the attention of several 
successive General Conferences in the form of memorials from 
some of the Annual Conferences. 

Another difference is in regard to receiving members into the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 135 

church. The Methodist Episcopal Church still requires the 
period of probation before one becomes a member and "no one 
can be admitted into full membership in the church until he 
has been recommended by the Official Board, or the Leaders and 
Stewards Meeting, with the approval of the Pastor." The 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has done away with the 
probationary requirement. The pastor in charge determines 
their fitness and receives into full membership those who have 
"given satisfactory assurances of their desire to flee from the 
wrath to come, and to be saved from their sins; also of the 
genuineness of their faith, and of their willingness to keep the 
rules of the church." Both methods have their advantages and 
disadvantages, but the difference is not such that a method agree- 
able to both could not be adopted. 

More important differences in polity between the two churches 
are those concerning the composition of the various Confer- 
ences. One which applies to all the Conferences except the 
Annual Conference is the difference relative to the eligibility 
of women to membership in these Conferences. In the Method- 
ist Episcopal Church women are eligible, under the same con- 
ditions that men are, to membership in the Quarterly, District, 
or General Conferences. They are not eligible to membership 
in the Annual Conference, according to the decisions of the 
General Conferences of 1880 and 1884, paragraph 550 of the 
Discipline. In the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, women 
are not eligible to membership in any Conference, according to 
paragraphs 548, 572, and 604. The proposition to admit women 
to membership in all the Conferences has been proposed in 
several General Conferences, but has never been carried. 

In the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Annual Conference 
is composed of traveling preachers : in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, it is composed of all traveling preachers in full 
connection with it, and four lay representatives from each pre- 
siding elder's district. The lay members can participate in all 
business of the Conference except such as involves ministerial 
character. 



13G A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

There is a radical difference in the polity of the two churches 
in reference to the election of lay delegates to the General Con- 
ference. In the Methodist Episcopal Church the election is 
more democratic, originating with the membership of the church. 
Lay delegates are chosen by "a Lay Electoral Conference con- 
stituted quadrennially, or whenever duly called by the General 
Conference, within the bounds of each Annual Conference, for 
the purpose of electing Lay Delegates to the General Confer- 
ence, the number of which is equal to the number of clerical 
delegates, and for the purpose of voting on constitutional 
changes. It shall be composed of lay members, one from each 
pastoral charge within its bounds, chosen by the lay members 
of the charge over twenty-one years of age." In the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, the lay members, as such, have no 
voice in the election of delegates. The election has its beginning 
with the ministry, the preacher in charge. Each Annual Con- 
ference may determine for itself the number of laymen, besides 
the district lay leaders and the charge lay leaders, who can be 
members of the District Conference, and their mode of appoint- 
ment. The Virginia Conference and many other Conferences 
put the election of delegates to the District Conference in the 
Quarterly Conference, a large majority of which is composed 
of stewards and Sunday school superintendents, who are nom- 
inated by the preacher in charge and elected by the Quarterly 
Conference. The lay members of each District Conference elect 
four lay members of the Annual Conference, and these lay 
members of the Annual Conference, voting separately, elect lay 
delegates to the General Conference equal to the number of 
clerical delegates. As each Annual Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, may determine the mode of appoint- 
ment of lay members of the District Conference, it may not be 
difficult to adjust this difference in polity of the two churches. 

The most fundamental difference in polity between these two 
branches of Episcopal Methodism is that concerning the powers 
and relations of the General Conference, the Annual Conference, 
and the episcopacy. It resolves itself into the question — what 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 137 

are the powers which a delegated General Conference can exer- 
cise under a constitution which practically gave it being? This 
question was brought forward by the action of the General Con- 
ference of 1820, in regard to electing presiding elders. Bishop 
McKendree carried the question to the Annual Conferences, and 
the response of the Conferences showed a decided difference of 
opinion on a question purely constitutional. Seven Southern 
Conferences took sides with Bishop McKendree and Bishop- 
elect Soule; five Northern Conferences sided against them. This 
constitutional difference manifested itself when there were no 
political questions involved. It slumbered for years, but it was 
not banished, neither was it dead. When sectional differences 
were acute, the same constitutional question was brought to 
the fore by the case of Bishop James 0. Andrew and the attend- 
ant circumstances. It was not settled, but was decided by each 
section of the church for itself, which resulted in division. 
It is to-day the most serious question of polity which con- 
fronts us as we consider the possibility and the advisability of 
unification. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church holds that the General Con- 
ference is supreme in making rules and regulations for the 
church, under the six restrictive rules set forth in Paragraph 46 
of its written constitution, and that therefore the bishops are 
creatures of this Conference and can be made and unmade at 
will. The General Conference, therefore, finally decides all 
questions of law, the bishops deciding all questions of law 
involved in the proceedings of an Annual Conference, subject 
to appeal to the General Conference, and the General Conference 
determines the constitutionality of its own acts. It is at the 
same time both legislative and judicial in its nature. There 
seems to be no tribunal with power to review or check an uncon- 
stitutional act on the part of a General Conference, although 
such may not be designed, and the violation of the constitution 
an unconscious act. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has not declared its 
constitution, and therefore, like the English Government, has 



138 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

never written it as such. It holds that the bishops are a coor- 
dinate branch of the government and cannot be deposed by a 
General Conference except as excommunicated by regular pro- 
cess of trial. A bishop shall decide all questions of law presented 
to him in writing, in the regular business of an Annual or Gen- 
eral Conference, and the Conference shall have the right of 
appeal to the College of Bishops, whose decision in such case 
shall be final. No episcopal decision shall be authoritative, 
except in the case pending, until it has been passed upon by the 
College of Bishops. The conclusions of the College of Bishops, 
when published, are authoritative constructions of law, and 
remain as such until changed by the General Conference. The 
College of Bishops, therefore, in a judicial capacity, acts as a 
supreme court of appeals. 

The General Conference can make rules and regulations under 
the restrictions of the six rules of Paragraph 42 of the Dis- 
cipline, provided that when any rule or regulation is adopted 
by the General Conference which, in the opinion of the bishops, 
is unconstitutional, the bishops may present to the Conference 
which passed such a rule or regulation their objections thereto, 
with their reasons, in writing; and if then the General Con- 
ference shall, by a two-thirds vote, adhere to its action, it shall 
then take the course prescribed for altering a restrictive rule, 
and if thus passed upon affirmatively, the bishops shall announce 
that such rule or regulation takes effect from that time. Thus 
the Annual Conference of the church at large is protected from 
the will of a majority of the General Conference. 

The necessity for some veto power to prevent hasty or bad 
legislation, at variance with the constitution, is generally ac- 
knowledged by the American people in political government, 
and its necessity would seem to be as great in ecclesiastical 
government. The vital question, therefore, is, in whom shall this 
veto power be vested ? Bishop Asbury, in an address read to the 
General Conference after his death, pleaded for a "committee 
on safety" which should protect the constitution from encroach- 
ment by the General Conference. Several General Confer- 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 139 

ences before 1844 proposed methods to protect the constitution. 
The General Conference of 1820 proposed a veto by "the super- 
intendent or superintendents." The Conference of 1836 cre- 
ated a committee on judiciary which has no legal standing and 
is heard only when requested by formal vote. The Methodist 
Episcopal Church, at each session of the General Conference, 
provides for a judiciary committee, but it is a creature of the 
Conference and has no veto power. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, met this difficulty 
by the method stated above, by the General Conference of 1870 
and the approval of the members of the several Annual Confer- 
ences. A proposition to meet the same difficulty is now before 
the Methodist Episcopal Church. It proposes to refer to the 
Board of General Superintendents any question of law in regard 
to proposed legislation. The entire board shall consider the 
matter and report in writing their decision and the reason 
therefor. If their decision is challenged, it shall require two 
thirds of those present and voting to set it aside. 

It would seem, therefore, that regarding the fundamental 
differences of polity it is not impossible for the two great 
branches of episcopal Methodism to get together, and that at 
this time they are getting nearer together than at any time since 
the division of 1844. 

The limitations of this paper are such that it is not possible 
to discuss the difference in polity of the other branches of Amer- 
ican Methodism. Suffice it to say that both branches of episcopal 
Methodism have adopted the policy of lay representation con- 
tended for in the controversy which resulted in the formation 
of the Methodist Protestant Church. While in harmony with 
all Methodist bodies, the Methodist Protestant Church has pre- 
served the idea of the appointing and superintending power 
and the need of the Conference, it has nevertheless done away 
with the episcopal office and the office of presiding elder and 
vested in each Conference the power to elect its own president. 
It does not seem, however, that this opposition to the episcopacy 
and the presiding eldership or district superintendent is so 



140 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

great that it cannot be overcome in the interest of Methodist 
union. 

The polity of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and 
the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is very similar 
to that of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the polity of 
the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America is almost 
identical with that of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
An examination, therefore, of the polity of the two parent 
branches will prove sufficient for these also. 

Methodism has been called "the child of Providence," and the 
way it has successfully met the great crises of its history attests 
the validity of its claim to this title. Looking back from the 
point of view of to-day we can but think that the act of the 
General Conference of 1844 in the "Plan of Separation" which 
was carried by a majority of almost six sevenths of the delegates, 
was another manifestation of the claim that Methodism is "the 
child of Providence," for, however we may deplore the separa- 
tion of the great church into two sections, we realize that by 
this separation the two great bodies were saved to Methodism, 
and under God have done a mighty work in this country and 
abroad under the doctrines and discipline of our beloved and 
common Methodism. Had the sectional differences continued in 
an apparently united church, no one is a sufficient prophet to 
tell what would have been the losses and disasters which would 
have come to American Methodism. 

When a great nation like America, which must lead the world 
in peace and righteousness, calls for the force and influence of 
a great, united, militant church to load in social and moral 
reforms, and when God calls for a people of one mind and one 
heart, to extend the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ, shall not the same "Child of Providence," with one 
united voice, answer, "Here am 1 ; Send me"? 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 141 



THE PROBLEM: CHURCH POLITY 
David G. Downey, D.D. 

I. Delimitation of Theme 

The scope of this discussion of "The Problem of Church 
Polity as a Factor to be Considered in the Movement for Union" 
is necessarily and wisely limited by the terms of the invitation. 
"In this paper," writes President Stuart, "we should like to have 
stated clearly in what respect the polity of the separate organ- 
izations differs, how vital the differences are and how they may 
be reconciled." The scope is likewise narrowed by the fact that 
while there is no time limit in some of the Methodist bodies 
under consideration there is a time limit on this paper, to wit, 
thirty minutes. It will be understood, of course, that the dis- 
cussion covers simply the outstanding differences in polity in the 
main branches of Methodism in the United States. To cover 
exhaustively the minute variations between the sixteen varieties 
of American Methodists is manifestly impossible. Fortunately, 
it is as unnecessary as it is impossible. If we can harmonize our 
main differences, the minor ones surely will not long bar the 
pathway to union. 

II. Importance of Subject 

The importance of this discussion becomes at once apparent 
when we remember that Methodists divide more easily on ques- 
tions of policy than on matters of faith ; on governmental rather 
than on doctrinal issues. It is doubtful if any of the major, or 
for that matter, of the minor divisions in the Methodist family 
were due solely to differences with respect to essential doctrine. 
In a recent paper read before the School of Journalism of 
Columbia College, New York, Dr. Henry K. Carroll, the eminent 
statistician and investigator of religious differences, writes: "If 
Methodists of to-day have put distance and differences between 



142 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

themselves . they are one in doctrine or faith and none of 
their divisions were caused by doctrinal differences." While 
some might question the absolute accuracy of this statement, it 
none the less is substantially true. 

At first sight it would appear that by virtue of the fact just 
stated union would be a comparatively easy and simple matter. 
Not so, however. The fact seems to be that in the affairs of 
religion human nature holds with almost unyielding tenacity to 
questions of polity. The cut and color of the coat, the use of 
hooks and eyes rather than buttons for fastening clothing, the 
presence or the absence of a necktie — these and such things as 
these take denominationally an eminence and dignity apparently 
superior even to beliefs or disbeliefs in matters of faith. When 
we come to the questions of ministerial orders and rights, privi- 
leges or proscriptions as between the laity and the clergy, methods 
of government and the whole question of ways and means for 
carrying on the work of the church — none of which are neces- 
sarily connected with doctrine — we find the protesting and 
individualistic tendencies of Protestants in general and of 
Methodists in particular in a region where they may have free 
course to run and be glorified. Because of these inherent ten- 
dencies it is of the utmost importance that we understand at 
the beginning just what our differences and difficulties in ques- 
tions of polity are, how important or unimportant, how frivolous 
or forceful they may prove, and how and in what manner all 
may be harmonized and reconciled so that a united Methodism, 
that consummation devoutly to be wished, may be speedily 
achieved. 

III. Differences in Polity Classified and Sketched 

For the purposes of this paper and for the sake of convenience 
and clearness the questions involved may be grouped under 
three main divisions, to wit: Differences in Polity affecting 
(a) the Ministry; (b) the Laity; (c) the Conferences. We 
will consider them in the order stated. 

(a) Differences in Polity affecting the Ministry. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 143 

1. The Methodist Protestant Church holds to the theory of 
only one ministerial order (elder) and hence only one ordina- 
tion. In some of the Annual Conferences women are licensed 
to preach. It is, however, a disputed question as to the strict 
legality of such action. It rejects episcopacy, either as an order 
or an office. The Annual Conferences elect a president to serve 
for the year. As respects ministerial rights and privileges the 
law is that the Annual Conferences, through the stationing com- 
mittee, shall station the preachers: "provided, always that they 
grant to each minister or preacher stationed the right of appeal, 
during the sitting of the Conference." (Disc, art. vii, second.) 
That is to say, any dissatisfied preacher may have his proposed 
appointment reconsidered before action thereon is final. An- 
other rule of this body affecting the ministry is the provision 
that "each Annual Conference shall have authority to determine 
for itself whether any limit, or, if any, what limit shall be to 
the renewal of annual appointments." (Disc, art. x, 7.) The 
practical effect of this provision is to do away with the time 
limit. It is interesting to note that in this body the president 
of the Annual Conference may be elected a member of the 
stationing committee of the Conference and again he may not 
be. On the other hand, in at least one Conference the president 
has always been the stationing committee, and has made the 
appointments himself. 

2. At the other extreme as respects ministerial orders stands 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. This organization 
seemingly holds to the theory of three orders — deacons, elders, 
and bishops. It is indeed true that the ritual speaks of the 
ordination of deacons and elders and the consecration of bishops. 
However, the significant and it would seem the determining fact 
is that in the form for consecrating a bishop the ritual reads: 
"Almighty God who by thy Holy Spirit hast appointed 
divers orders of ministers in thy Church." Whereas in the 
very same service in the ritual of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
the word used is offices. A careful examination of the debate 
in the General Conference of 1844 will show that Bascom and 



144 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

other Southern leaders apparently held this view. Certainly in 
the debates referred to they claimed that episcopacy was co- 
ordinate with the General Conference. It is, I think, true that 
a large and increasing element in the Church South disputes 
this position and is quite radical in the other direction. None 
the less, such law as there is on the subject, written and un- 
written, is, I think, in favor of coordinate authority and un- 
limited tenure for the bishops. There does not appear to be any 
provision for missionary bishops. Possibly it is this conception 
of the episcopacy as coordinate in authority and with per- 
manent tenure that accounts for certain special prerogatives 
accorded the bishops in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
For example, no individual member of an Annual Conference 
may appeal from a bishop's decision. The right of appeal belongs 
only to the Conference as such (Disc, Par. 537). Even then the 
appeal is not to the General Conference but to the College of 
Bishops, whose decision is final (Disc, Par. 107). This is 
distinctly different from the Methodist Episcopal Church, where 
the appeal from the bishop's decision is not to his confreres but 
to the General Conference, and may be carried there by an 
individual as well as by an Annual Conference. 

The bishops in the Church South also have a veto power on 
the acts of the General Conference. If they judge that any 
enactment of the General Conference is unconstitutional they 
may present to the Conference their objection in writing. Such 
objection vetoes the act unless repassed by a two-thirds vote of the 
General Conference, and even then it must be sent down to the 
Annual Conferences and receive the majority required for 
amending the constitution before it can be enacted by law 
(Disc, Par. 43). One can easily see how difficult it would be 
to secure the passage of any law objected to by the College of 
Bishops in view of the fact that they are not only the presiding 
officers in the General Conference, but also the presiding officers 
and the appointing power in the Annual Conferences. The pas- 
tors in the Church South can be appointed to the same charge 
for only four years. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 145 

3. Midway between these extremes is the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. It holds to two orders iu the ministry — deacons and 
elders. The episcopacy is simply an office created for the sake 
of spiritual and administrative efficiency. The tenure of office 
is terminable for sufficient cause at any time in the judgment of 
the General Conference, and the bishops must in any event retire 
from active service at the approximate age of seventy-three 
(Disc, Par. 210). In the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church the bishop has many privileges, but few rights. 
As is well known, the general conviction is that he is simply the 
presiding officer and not a member of the body. When he 
speaks, save as the presiding officer, it is only by courtesy and 
he has no power to stop any law or rule the General Conference 
may see fit to adopt. 

There is no limit on the length of the pastoral term, but in the 
matter of his appointment the pastor in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church has no right of appeal from the action of the bishop 
either to a committee or the Conference, as in the Methodist 
Protestant Church, nor is there any disciplinary rule requiring 
the bishop to read all the appointments to the cabinet before 
reading them in Conference, as appears to be the case in the 
Church South (Disc, Par. 103). In neither the Methodist 
Episcopal nor the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, are 
women eligible for license to preach or for ordination to the 
ministry. 

(&) Differences in Polity affecting the Laity. 

1. It may, I think, be said that article xii of the constitution 
is the layman's magna charta in the Methodist Protestant 
Church. The article reads as follows: 

The matter of suffrage and eligibility to office shall be left to the 
Annual Conferences respectively; provided, that each Annual Con- 
ference shall be entitled to representation in the same ratio in the 
General Conference; and provided, that no rule shall be passed 
which shall infringe the right of suffrage or eligibility to office. 

Under this charter laymen are present in equal numbers and 
with equal rights and privileges in the Annual and Generai 



146 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Conferences. So far as can be judged from the disciplinary 
provisions there is no difference between the laity and the 
ministry in the General or Annual Conference in point of right 
and privilege. They sit and deliberate and vote together on 
all questions; provided, however, that upon the final passage of 
any question five members can compel a vote by orders in both 
the Annual and General Conference (Disc, art. viii, sec. 5). 

The discipline of this body further provides that in respect 
of all offices in the local church the initiative and election are 
with the membership. That is to say, all office-bearers — class 
leaders, stewards, etc. — are nominated and elected by their fellow- 
members. There is no difference in regard to sex. Women as 
well as men are eligible to all these offices. There are a few 
small colored Conferences in this communion and their lay 
representatives are equal in privilege with their white brethren 
in the General Conference. 

2. In the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the rights 
and privileges of the laity are much more restricted. Instead 
of equal representation in the Annual Conference the provision 
is that the lay delegates in each District Conference shall elect 
four lay representatives to the Annual Conference, and as these 
Conferences usually have from eight to twelve districts the 
number of lay delegates varies from thirty-two to forty-eight. 
It is these lay delegates in the Annual Conference, thirty-two to 
forty-eight in number, who elect the lay delegates of the Con- 
ference to the General Conference. In the Annual Conference 
the lay delegates participate in all the Conference business "except 
such as involves ministerial character" (Par. 46). 

In the Church South women may not be elected as stewards 
nor can they be members of either the Quarterly, District, 
Annual or General Conferences (Disc, Pars. 548, 5!)4, (504). 
They may, however, be Sunday school superintendents, but 
even then are denied membership in the Quarterly Conference. 
As this church does its work for the Negro largely through the 
Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, there are, of course, no 
Negroes, ministerial or lay, in any of its Conferences. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 147 

An important part of the polity of the Church South is its 
Board of Lay Activities. This board is constituted in each 
Annual Conference at its first session after each General Con- 
ference and consists of the Conference lay leader and the district 
leader from each presiding elder's district. It is closely inte- 
grated with the local church, the Quarterly and the District 
Conferences, and its duties are to consider plans for (a) the 
better support of the ministry, (b) the larger activity of the 
laymen in evangelistic work, and (c) cooperation with other 
Conference boards for larger service in all church work (Disc, 
Par. 68). It is largely through the work of this board that 
the lay membership in the Annual Conferences becomes vital 
and effective. 

3. In the Methodist Episcopal Church laymen are not ad- 
mitted to membership in the Annual Conferences. In this 
respect they are less favorably situated than their brethren in 
the Methodist Protestant and the Methodist Episcopal, South, 
communions. They are, however, members of the Quarterly 
Conference and are in the General Conference in equal numbers 
with the ministers. It may further be noted that while the 
method of their election is not so democratic as in the Methodist 
Protestant Church it is more so than in the Church South. In 
the latter, delegates to the District Conference elect delegates 
to the Annual Conference, and these delegates in turn select 
the delegates to the General Conference. In the Methodist 
Episcopal Church the local church sends its representatives 
direct to the Lay Electoral Conference and these representatives 
elect delegates direct to the General Conference. This Lay 
Electoral Conference is also endowed with legislative power. 
No change in the constitution of the church by way of addition, 
alteration, or amendment can be made without the consent 
of this body. It is in this respect a joint power with the General 
and Annual Conferences. 

In the Methodist Episcopal Church women now have equal 
rights and privileges with men, excepting in matters of ordi- 
nation. They are in the Quarterly Conference and the General 



148 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Conference and are chosen as leaders, stewards and trustees. 
In this branch of Methodism the Negro is an integral part and 
is in the General Conference on perfect parity with his white 
brothers as respects rights and privileges. 

(c) Differences in Polity Affecting the Conferences. 

In discussing the differences in polity in regard to the rights 
and privileges of the ministry and laity we have of necessity 
touched on some points of difference with respect to Conference 
organization, work, and prerogative. It therefore is only neces- 
sary here to refer to the characteristic and outstanding differ- 
ences not already discussed either directly or by implication. 

1. The Powers of the General Conference. 

In the Methodist Episcopal Church the General Conference is 
supreme. It is the only law making body and is the sole judge 
of the constitutionality of its own acts. Its only limitation is 
in the six restrictive rules. The provision conveying this power 
is found in Article X of the Constitution, which reads : 

The General Conference shall have full power to make rules and 
regulations for the Church under the following limitations and 
restrictions, namely — 

The restrictive rules are so well known in Methodism as to 
need no repetition here. It should be noted, however, that all 
these restrictive rules, save the first, which treats of the Articles 
of Religion and Standards of Doctrine, may be altered or 
amended by constitutional process duly provided for. Apart 
from these restrictions the powers of the General Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church would appear to be unlimited. 

In the Church South even this first restrictive rule may be 
altered by a joint recommendation of a majority of all the 
Annual Conferences and a two-thirds majority of the succeeding 
General Conference. The General Conference of the Church 
South, however, is limited by the provision (Disc, Par. 43) 
giving the bishops a veto power over any rule or regulation 
which in their opinion is unconstitutional. As this important 
limitation has already been discussed in the section dealing 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 149 

with the powers of the bishop, it is not necessary to repeat it at 
this point. 

The Methodist Protestant Church (see art. xv) has provided 
what is practically a supreme court and given it a veto upon 
the powers of the General Conference. While I understand the 
court has never been convened and the power granted never 
exercised, yet the power inheres and is so suggestive and im- 
portant that I quote the essential paragraphs. 

1. Whenever a majority of all the Annual Conferences shall 
officially call for a judicial decision on any rule or act of the General 
Conference, it shall be the duty of each and every Annual Con- 
ference to appoint, at its next session, two judicial delegates, one 
minister, and one layman, having the same qualifications of eligi- 
bility as are required for representatives to the General Conference. 
The delegates thus chosen shall assemble at the place where the 
General Conference held its last session, on the third Friday in May 
following their appointment. 

2. A majority of the delegates shall constitute a quorum: and if 
two thirds of all present judge said rule or act of the General 
Conference unconstitutional, they shall have power to declare the 
same null and void. 

2. Basis of Membership in the General Conference. 

In the Methodist Episcopal Church and in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, membership in the General Confer- 
ence is based upon the numbers in the ministry. Further, the 
ministerial members are elected by their brethren in the ministry 
and the lay members by the laymen. 

In the Methodist Protestant Church, however, membership is 
based upon the laity. That is to say, there is one member of the 
General Conference for each two thousand persons in full mem- 
bership. The requisite number to constitute the General Con- 
ference being determined, the delegates are then elected by 
a joint ballot of ministers and laymen, providing always that 
there shall be an equal number of both classes. This is an 
important point of difference and will claim careful considera- 
tion in any plan for union. 



150 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

3. Special Conference Features. 

There are certain special Conference features that may prop- 
erly claim a very brief characterization at this point. 

(a) District Conferences. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church has held quite closely to the 
original organization into Quarterly, District, Annual, and 
General Conferences. The widest departure is found in the 
fact that in many sections of the country the District Confer- 
ence, while having a name to live, is practically dead. The 
Disciplinary provision (Par. 101) makes the holding of District 
Conferences entirely optional with the Quarterly Conferences of 
the district. 

The Methodist Protestant Church is divided into districts. 
These districts, however, are Annual Conference districts, and 
there seems to be no disciplinary provision for the District Con- 
ference as such. This branch of Methodism has no presiding 
elders or district superintendents. The president of the Annual 
Conference usually travels through and oversees the Annual 
Conference district. 

In the Church South, however, the District Conference is 
obligatory (Par. 69). It must meet annually and is charged 
with certain important and highly responsible duties and func- 
tions. 

(b) Church Conferences. 

A characteristic feature of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, is the Monthly Church Conference (see Disc, Par. 94-98) 
for the membership of the local church together with the resi- 
dent members of an Annual Conference. It is really a monthly 
meeting of the church for conference and counsel and ought to 
greatly increase the interest and knowledge of the members in 
regard to the life and work of the church. 

(c) The Joint Board of Finance. 

This board (Disc, Pars. 383-386; 658-665) is another peculiar 
feature of the Church South and appears to be a combination of 
the Conference Board of Stewards and Board of Conference 
Claimants of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 151 

(d) Executive Committee. 

A very important difference in Conference polity is found in 
the provision made by the Methodist Protestant Church for an 
executive committee of seven members, three ministers and three 
laymen, with the president of the General Conference ex officio 
chairman. This committee is appointed by the General Con- 
ference and continues in office for four years. Vacancies are 
filled by the committee. It is in effect the General Conference 
ad interim. 

Among its duties are the supervision "of all the general 
interests of the church represented by boards elected by the 
General Conference. It shall see that the will of the General 
Conference is carried out in every particular in accordance with 
its expression in its quadrennial sessions/' etc. Again, "the 
words 'boards and institutions' shall be construed to include 
all officers and agents in charge of the work or property of the 
church subject to the control of the General Conference and 
reporting thereto." 

This committee has "the authority to interpret and construe 
the constitution, bylaws, and statutes of the church in their 
relation and application to any question of interest and im- 
portance to any section or body of the church, when the same 
is transmitted as in case of appeals." In the interim of the 
meetings of the committee the chairman ex officio acts for the 
committee and has the power of legal interpretation, etc., just 
noted. The committee reports to the General Conference (Disc, 
pp. 79-84). 

This legislation certainly gives very broad powers to a very 
small body. Such a body could easily exercise autocratic and 
possibly tyrannical power during a quadrennium. 

IV Reconciliation of Differences 

It will be noted that in analyzing the differences in polity I 
have confined myself to the Methodist Protestant, the Meth- 
odist Episcopal, and the Methodist Episcopal, South, branches 



152 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

of American Methodism. I have not been unmindful of such 
bodies as the African Methodist Episcopal, the African Meth- 
odist Episcopal Zion, and the Colored Methodist Episcopal 
Church on the one hand and the Free Methodists and Primitive 
Methodists on the other. In all these there are of course minor 
differences of polity. Substantially, however, it may be said 
that the Methodist Protestant types all the non-episcopal Meth- 
odisms and such differences as exist between the various branches 
are really non-essential. They are practically at one in their 
attitude toward the ministry, the laity, and the functions of the 
various Conferences. The Free Methodists, however, have two 
orders in the ministry — deacons and elders. Likewise, the im- 
portant differences between the various episcopal Methodisms 
are, I think, sufficiently characterized in the consideration of 
the two main bodies above noted. 

(a) The Ministry 

Coming now to the reconciliation of these differences we may 
say, using the terms in a broad sense, though not with exact 
ecclesiastical accuracy, that as regards the ministry, the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South, is High Church, the Methodist 
Protestant is Low Church, and the Methodist Episcopal is Broad 
Church. In this case it would on the whole seem wise for the 
extremes to approximate the middle. Let the Methodist Prot- 
estants recognize the validity of two orders in the ministry and 
accept episcopacy as an expedient form of church government. 
Let the Methodists South yield the prelatical point of a third 
order and the special prerogatives that go therewith. Let the 
democratic principle of the individual right of appeal be recog- 
nized and let the appeal be to a body utterly impartial and 
entirely disinterested. Should these principles be granted, the 
lesser matters could be adjusted without difficulty. The Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South, holds to a time limit of four 
years for the pastorate. The Methodist Episcopal Church has 
abolished the limit, while in the Methodist Protestant the ques- 
tion is relegated to the various Annual Conferences, with the 
practical result of no limit. In any unification, therefore, it is 



UNION" OF AMERICAN METHODISM 153 

probable that the majority rule would prevail and that the time 
limit would be abolished. 

(b) The Laity. 

In both the Methodist Protestant and the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, the laymen are already in all the Conferences. 
In the Methodist Episcopal they are still shut out from the 
Annual Conference. Here certainly the Methodist Episcopal 
Church should willingly move forward to the position of her 
sister churches. Let the principle of lay delegation be accepted 
and the special method can readily be worked out. 

Since the District Conference, which is basic in lay repre- 
sentation in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, does not 
exist in the Methodist Protestant Church, and is only optional 
in the Methodist Episcopal Church, it would seem that some 
other method must be found or else the District Conference 
must be reinstated in power in the two branches just named. 

If the representation in the Annual Conference is to be equal 
in number with the ministers, then the election or selection 
should be from the local church: if, however, it is not to be 
equal, then the delegates would have to be chosen by some such 
body as the District Conference, the Lay Electoral Conference, 
or the Laymen's Association meeting annually. 

It would also seem wise for the Methodist Episcopal Church 
and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to accept th^ 
position of the Methodist Protestant Church and agree that all 
officers of the local church should be nominated and elected by 
the membership, with a possible proviso requiring the approval 
of the pastor or the district superintendent. 

Since both the Methodist Protestant and the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church recognize the eligibility of women as office-bearers, 
it is not too much to expect that the Church South will revise 
its legislation on that point and join in recognizing the worth 
and ability of the women who labor with us in the Lord. 

(c) The Conferences. 

In the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and in the Meth- 
odist Protestant Church there is a check on the power of the 



154 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

General Conference. In the former the bishops can interpose a 
veto and make an appeal to the entire church; in the latter 
the Annual Conferences, through the committee or commission 
on "discipline judiciary" heretofore explained, can render Gen- 
eral Conference legislation null and void if they deem it un- 
constitutional. Obviously, if the Methodist Episcopal Church is 
not willing to accept some such court of appeal it must give 
conclusive proof not only that the General Conference never has 
veered from a true interpretation of the constitution, but also 
that it never can do so. The wiser way would seem to be to 
accept modification of existing methods. Since the modern 
tendency is away from special privilege, it is likely that some 
modification of the Discipline judiciary of the Methodist Prot- 
estant Church or of the Judicial Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church would find more favor than the plan of the 
Church South, which centralizes power in the College of Bishops. 

The polity of the Methodist Protestant Church, which bases 
membership in the General Conference on the total membership 
in the church rather than on the number of ministers, is in 
harmony with the modern theory of lodging power in the people 
and is well worthy of the consideration of the other branches 
of Methodism. 

The Methodist Protestant Church has no presiding eldership. 
If they are to accept this or the district superintendency as an 
integral part of a united Methodism, it would seem reasonable 
to grant their long-time contention for a participation by the 
ministry and the laity in the selection of those elders or super- 
intendents. Especially is this so in view of the agitation for 
permanent tenure in the office. The wisdom of giving the 
preacher the right of appeal in the matter of his appointment is 
also worthy of careful consideration. 

Conclusion. 

The special conference or committee features do not here need 
extended comment. If agreement can be had on the main 
issues here outlined all else would be matters of detail to be 
settled in harmony with the decisions on the major questions. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 155 

It may, however, be surmised that the executive committee of 
the Methodist Protestant Church, with its broad powers con- 
centrated in the hands of a close corporation, will hardly be 
needed in the new alignment. 

It will, I think, be admitted that while these differences in 
polity raise interesting and delicate and sometimes difficult 
questions, they are far from being insuperable. Are we heartily 
in earnest in our desire for unity? If so, difficulties will only 
be stepping stones to success. If our deepest desire is for a 
vital union — a union of spirit, life, and work in Christ — there 
is nothing in any question of polity or policy that should or 
will keep us from growing "up into Him in all things, which is 
the head, even Christ. From whom the whole body fitly joined 
together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, 
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, 
maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." 



THE PROBLEM: DOCTRINE AND 

RITUAL 

PROFESSOR WILBUR F. TILLETT, D.D., 
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 

PROFESSOR J. W. E. BOWEN, Ph.D., D.D., 
Gammon Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia 



THE PROBLEM : DOCTRINE AND RITUAL 
Pkoeessoe, Wilbur F. Tillett, D.D. 

Methodism, the world over, is now and has always been a 
unit in its evangelical system of doctrine. The various branches 
of Methodism, differ as they may in matters of church polity, 
have but one faith as to doctrine ; and, among the potent factors 
that have helped it to achieve the marvelous results that have 
crowned a century and a half of preaching, its doctrinal system is 
doubtless, next to its religious experience, the most powerful. If 
it were simply a matter of doctrine that needed to be considered 
and adjusted, we could talk about the organic union of the Meth- 
odisms of the world almost as freely and as confidently as we can 
of the harmony and agreement, in all essential matters of faith 
and doctrine, of the various branches of American Methodism. 
The speakers to whom this topic has been assigned will not there- 
fore be under the necessity of consuming any time in pointing 
out the doctrinal differences and disagreements between the 
branches of American Methodism represented here; but can 
devote their time almost wholly to pointing out the powerful 
appeal for organic union that comes from complete doctrinal 
unity. 

Others here may have to plead for concessions and com- 
promises as absolutely necessary in order to clear the way for 
the proposed union; but it is for us, whose privilege it is to 
speak on our splendid heritage of doctrine, the rather to rally 
the divided hosts of Methodism around the one flag of our com- 
mon faith, and call upon all who march under that banner to 
emphasize and magnify the great facts and truths upon which 
we are here agreed, so that the things of lesser importance upon 
which we may differ and be divided may be subordinated to the 
higher interests of the Kingdom, which are most surely calling 

in our day for the union of our moral and religious forces that 

159 



160 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

have been too long divided. It will be a shame for us, who live 
in the twentieth century, to allow either sectional pride, or the 
memory of issues that died, or should have died, with the nine- 
teenth century, to perpetuate a division in our ranks that is no 
longer necessary, and weaken the strength of an army which, 
united, will constitute the largest and strongest single force in 
American Protestantism. If one says that this is already true of 
American Methodism, even though divided, then I say that the 
concentrated influence and impact of a united church will be 
much greater than it can ever be while weakened by a division 
that is the source of embarrassment and irritation that would be 
brought to an end by organic union. 

Most of the doctrines of Methodism are held in common with 
all other evangelical Christian churches; but on some of these 
Methodism places the emphasis differently from where it is 
placed by other churches ; while there are certain other doctrines 
that are peculiarly distinctive of Methodism. For instance, 
Methodism, in its doctrine of God, places the emphasis upon his 
Fatherhood and love rather than upon his sovereignty and 
justice; in its doctrine of man, upon his moral free agency and 
responsibility in determining his own character and destiny 
as opposed to unconditional election and reprobation; in its 
doctrine of redemption, upon the largeness and graciousness of 
Christ's atoning work for all mankind as opposed to the limita- 
tion and partiality of redemption ; while the witness of the Spirit, 
the possibility of apostasy on the one hand and of entire saneti- 
fication on the other are among the doctrines especially distinc- 
tive of Methodism. Methodism is a system and must be taken 
in its entirety, if it is to be rightly understood; nevertheless, it 
is what is distinctive of Methodist faith and doctrine that we 
shall have especially in mind in this paper. 

The Message of Methodism to the World 

The great movements that have taken place in different 
periods of Christian history have resulted in men having a com- 
mon faith organizing themselves into what we call religious 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 161 

denominations, or Christian churches. These great churches 
are like the prophets of old, in that they too have been receivers 
from God, whose messages they interpreted and gave forth to the 
world. Every true and great church of Christian history repre- 
sents a real prophetic and apostolic message to the world. If 
any great church of modern times can claim that it has received 
a message from God, that it has sought most earnestly to inter- 
pret that message aright, and that it has given forth, and is 
still, in all fidelity, giving forth that message to the world, and 
if the widespread and all but unprecedented acceptance of a 
church's message on the part of untold millions of men within 
the past century, and the beneficent results that have followed, 
are proof that its message must have come from God — then, 
surely, Methodism is in the true prophetic and apostolic suc- 
cession, and has a message of tremendous moral and religious 
significance for mankind, in this most momentous century of the 
world's history. What now is this message of Methodism to 
the world? The answer is to be found, in a large part, at 
least, in those simple, vital, evangelical Christian doctrines 
which constitute Methodism's interpretation of the gospel 
message. 

The Relation of Methodist Doctrine to Experience 

"It was not new doctrine but new life that the first Methodists 
sought for themselves and for others," says Bishop McTyeire 
in beginning his History of Methodism; and yet it is none the 
less true that that new life in its growth and maturity has 
produced a type of theology and a body of doctrine which are 
inseparably associated with Methodism and the work it has done 
and is doing. As, however, the "new life," which Methodism 
sought and found, was, strictly speaking, nothing but a return 
to and a fresh realization of the religious experience of apos- 
tolic times, so the "new doctrines" which Methodism brought to 
the church and the world in the eighteenth century were simply 
the old doctrines of primitive and apostolic Christianity rein- 
terpreted, reaffirmed, and reinforced by all that was best in 



162 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

eighteenth century Anglo-Saxon Christianity. "The vital 
Christian experience of any time," says Dr. W. N. Clarke, "is the 
best interpreter, for that time, of God and eternal life. It is the 
experimental nature of Christianity that makes Christian theol- 
ogy so fresh and living as it is. Progressive experience makes an 
ever-growing church, and out of the ever-growing life of the 
church comes an ever-growing theology, with the indwelling 
Spirit of God as the guide of its progress. Theology can never 
stand still while the divine life of the church is moving 
forward." 

In this sense Methodist doctrine born of Methodist experience, 
was not only new in the eighteenth century; it is something 
that is kept new, vital, fresh, progressive and aggressive by the 
experience and activity of the living, working, growing 
church. 

At the very beginning of our study of Methodist doctrine, 
then, we must recognize the fact that Methodists have always 
placed the first and greatest emphasis upon religious experience 
and life; and the dominant idea of their fellowship was to meet 
in societies and bands for the purpose of deepening and enrich- 
ing the religious experience of all who were associated together 
in these simple and informal assemblies, and organizing them 
for personal evangelistic service in leading sinners to Christ. 
The doctrines, therefore, which Methodists have espoused and 
loved and proclaimed from the beginning are those which eon- 
tribute most to spiritual life and to evangelistic efficiency in 
winning souls to Christ. This is the key with which to unlock 
and enter the treasure-house of Methodist doctrine. 

Wesleyan Arminianism 

To the truth-loving, discriminating, and organizing mind of 
John Wesley, Methodism, for all time, owes a lasting debt of 
gratitude greater, perhaps, than that which any modern ecclesi- 
astical organization owes to the man who was providentially its 
human founder. Gifted in a rare degree with reverence and 
courage, Wesley combined with his veneration for the past, and 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 163 

for the authority of the church, a desire and an ability to adapt 
all that was true and good in the past to the needs of the day 
in which he lived. 

John Wesley early became an Arminian in theology, as distinct 
from a Calvinist. The Arminianism of Holland, however, even 
in its earliest and purest form, was but a theological and intel- 
lectual system at best. Its one purpose seems to have been to 
prove that the doctrines of Arminianism as opposed to Calvin- 
ism constituted the true doctrinal system of Christianity. The 
Arminianism of Wesley and the Methodists, however, was in- 
tensely spiritual and evangelical. It was the Arminianism of 
Holland baptized with the Holy Ghost and infused with spirit- 
ual life. It was early described as "Christianity in earnest," an 
association of men and women believing in and enjoying expe- 
rimental religion, and on fire to save souls and carry the gospel 
to the whole world. 

When John Wesley began preaching, Arminianism, in 
America as well as in Europe, was regarded as a heresy almost 
if not quite as dangerous and pernicious as Arianism, Socinian- 
ism, or Pelagianism. Through the influence of Methodist 
preaching, however, that faith which was, a hundred years ago, 
regarded as a heresy has not only become orthodox, but it is to- 
day, if properly stated, unquestionably the best expression extant 
of what is known as modern evangelical Christianity. From 
the beginning, Methodism has never been under the necessity of 
altering or modifying its theology; and it should be a source of 
gratification to Methodists that every revision of creed that has 
been proposed by any church in the last half century has been in 
the direction of evangelical Wesleyan theology-— so much so, 
happily, that we are about to lose, if indeed we have not already 
lost, our proprietorship in these doctrines as characteristically 
and peculiarly Methodistic. The disciples of John Calvin to-day 
affiliate with the followers of Wesley the world over, and the 
Methodists love Presbyterians and fellowship with them as they 
do with few if any other Christian people, taken as a body. If, 
however, the two churches are coming nearer together in faith 



164 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

and doctrine, as they surely are, it is certainly not because the 
Methodists are modifying their theology. 

Unlimited Atonement 

Of the doctrines that Methodism has proclaimed, the most 
important and the most genuinely distinctive of them all is the 
doctrine of an unlimited atonement for all sinners and all sin 
in Jesus Christ. Methodist theology believes in the sovereignty 
of divine love among the attributes of God to the extent that it 
makes the will of God the expression of the nature and char- 
acter of One who is a Father and whose crowning attribute is 
love. If it be true that the necessity of atonement is found in 
the justice of God, it is none the less true that the origin of 
atonement is found in the love of God, and the method of atone- 
ment is an expression of the wisdom of God. The Calvinistic 
school of theology declared that the atonement is born in and 
necessitated by the justice of God, and that the sufferings of 
Christ were meant primarily to satisfy the divine wrath. Wes- 
leyan Arminianism declares that the atonement was born in the 
wisdom of God, and was meant to express and to satisfy the 
love of God, and to meet the moral needs of every sinner; and 
that, in the purpose of God, every sinner has like claims upon 
and interest in the saving work of Christ. Holding in common 
this one vital truth, Methodists may and do speculate, and advo- 
cate many different and varied theories of atonement. 

Methodism and the Doctrine of Holiness 

A doctrine which more than any other has threatened to divide 
Methodism is one which more than any other ought to bring 
them together and unite them in holy love and in the love of 
holiness — I refer to the doctrine of entire sanctification, which 
is known by many names. Methodists the world over are agreed 
that we can and should be saved from all sin here in this life, 
and that it is possible for love so to reign in the heart as to 
make a life of Christian perfection graciously possible, and that 
this sinless and perfect life is the privilege and duty of every 



UNION OP AMERICAN METHODISM 165 

child of God. This is the precious truth about holiness which 
it has been given to Methodists to emphasize, while we recognize 
that it is a matter of secondary and minor importance whether 
this sinless life of perfect love be attained instantaneously or pro- 
gressively. 

In 1785, a few months after John Wesley abridged and 
altered the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion for use in America, 
he wrote as follows concerning entire sanctification : "But, it may 
be inquired, In what manner does God work this entire, this 
universal change in the soul of the believer? Does he work it 
gradually, by slow degrees; or instantaneously, in a moment? 
How many are the disputes upon this head, even among the chil- 
dren of God! And so there will be after all that ever was, or 
ever can be, said upon it. The Scriptures are silent upon 

the subject, because the point is not determined, at least not in 
express terms, in any part of the oracles of God. Every man 
therefore may abound in his own sense, provided he will allow 
the same liberty to his neighbor, provided he will not be angry 
at those who differ from his opinion, nor entertain hard thoughts 
concerning them. Permit me likewise to add one thing more: 
be the change instantaneous or gradual, see that you never rest 
until it is wrought in your own soul, if you desire to dwell with 
God in glory." 

It is therefore untrue to Methodism to wrangle over the method 
of attaining entire holiness: the one thing for which we stand 
is that the experience of entire holiness and a life of perfect love 
for God and man have been made graciously possible to believers 
in this life, and that it is the privilege and duty of every child 
of God to enter into this experience and to live this life. 

Methodism and Biblical Criticism 

Are there not differences, someone asks, among the different 
branches of Methodism on the subject of Biblical Criticism 
that makes it impracticable for them to come together at this 
time? By no means is this true, I unhesitatingly answer. How- 
ever Methodists differ on other points, they all believe that the 



166 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Bible is a divine-human book, whose highest value and authority 
grow out of what it says of Christ and what he says of it and 
still more what he says in it and through it. American Meth- 
odists, we venture to say, are agreed in believing that not the 
only claim, but the supreme claim which the Bible has to being 
recognized as divinely inspired is found in its exalted ethical 
teachings and its moral and spiritual influence. While declar- 
ing that the Bible is infallible and of divine authority in the 
realm of moral and spiritual truth, Methodism leaves devout 
scholarship untrammeled in its investigations and unembarrassed 
in announcing any conclusions that may be justified by reason 
and supported by trustworthy evidence. That church holds safe 
and sane ground concerning the divine-human book which 
believes that it was divinely inspired not to teach science, or his- 
tory, or chronology, but to reveal the nature and will of God 
and give man instruction, guidance, and help in getting rid of 
sin, in being holy and useful, in learning the mind and heart 
of Christ, and in carrying the gospel to those who have it not. 

Methodist Doctrine Judged by its Effects and Results 

Christian faith is the foundation of Christian character. The 
preaching of Christian doctrines is necessary to the development 
of Christian manhood. "It makes no difference what a man 
believes provided his life is right," is a statement we frequently 
hear. This statement is one of those popular half-truths which 
at heart are erroneous. What a man is and does depends largely 
upon what he believes. The condition of salvation is "he that 
believeth." Creed goes before character and doctrines before 
deeds. The church's great mission in the world is to make men, 
to make men by preaching a full and rounded gospel that will 
regulate conduct, develop moral character, and thus produce 
noble types of manhood and womanhood. Doctrines and church 
creeds and churches themselves are worth just so much, in the 
last analysis, as they have power to make a noble type of man- 
hood and womanhood. More and more is the world in our day 
applying the test of ethics to individuals and to churches to 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 16* 

determine the real moral value of what they profess to be and 
believe and do. 

Methodism is willing to be judged by this test for the work 
it has done in the past. The moral value of its contribution to 
the citizenship of America is beyond computation. But Meth- 
odism and all other churches need to declare afresh at this time 
not only that the churches and church doctrines exist for the 
purpose of saving sinners and evangelizing the world, but also 
that saving men and evangelizing the world means getting men 
ready to live right as well as ready to die well, means inducing 
men not only to join the church, but also to lead virtuous lives, 
to respect the rights of others, to make money honestly and spend 
it wisely, to discharge faithfully the duties which they owe as 
husbands, parents, neighbors, men of business, citizens, rulers. 
The time-honored "General Rules" of Methodism have very little 
to do with the life of the church of to-day, so far as their form 
is concerned ; and no one can read them without feeling that they 
were written to meet the moral needs of a day far removed from 
our own. But their spirit and purpose — the intense and lofty 
ethical ideals which they reflect — are still inspiring and guiding 
the church, and will give them a permanent and ever honored 
place in the history of Methodism. 

Methodism's mission to America is to make men — to make 
such men as can alone make a nation morally great. 

Methodist Standards of Doctrine 

We are forbidden by our restrictive rules from establishing 
"any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present 
existing and established standards," and yet, strangely enough, 
there is not now and has never been any agreement among our 
representative men or among the different branches of Meth- 
odism as to exactly what these "standards" are. One man 
thinks they refer to the Twenty-five Articles; another thinks 
John Wesley's Fifty-two Sermons and Notes on the New Testa- 
ment are what is meant; a third thinks all of these and the 
Apostles' Creed are referred to; a fourth thinks they are certain 



lfiS A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

doctrinal tracts well known and much appealed to in the early 
days of Methodism, and printed for several years in the Book of 
Discipline; and yet another thinks the hymn book was meant to 
he included. The Wesleyan Church of England defines its doc- 
trinal "'standards" as the Fifty-three Sermons and the Expos- 
itory Notes of John Wesley. The Canadian Methodist Church 
has denned its doctrinal "standards" as embracing both the 
Twenty-five Articles and the Sermons and Notes of Wesley. 
Neither the Methodist Episcopal Church nor the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, has ever officially decided what is 
exactly meant by the term "existing standards of doctrine" as 
used in the Discipline. 

The ambiguity attending the interpretation of this phrase in 
the Discipline would surely be a source of serious embarrassment 
to us but for the uniformity of faith among Methodists the 
world over — a recognized uniformity which is so widespread 
that it has the value of unwritten law. This statement with 
reference to the doctrinal "standards" was introduced into the 
Discipline by the General Conference of 1808, which had in it 
only one hundred and twenty-nine members and was not then 
a delegated body, being composed of all the itinerant preachers 
who had traveled for four years. It was the General Conference 
of 1832 that introduced the restrictive clause excepting the 
Twenty-five Articles and doctrinal "standards" from any speci- 
fied mode of alteration. It is possible, as many think, that the 
idea in the mind of the Conference of 1832 in taking this action 
was that the Articles and standards should be made unalterable. 
If this were true, it would certainly be an anomaly that the 
one and only absolutely unalterable feature of the Methodism of 
the twentieth century should be certain Articles of Religion 
written by Archbishop Cranmer and others three hundred and 
sixty years ago, and two hundred years before Methodism was 
born, and certain "standards" the meaning of which no man 
has ever yet been able to explain and no College of Bishops or 
General Conference has ever yet undertaken officially and author- 
itatively to define! 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 169 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, however, has not considered the first restrictive rule con- 
cerning doctrinal standards as legally unalterable, but has 
pointed out the method by which this may be done. And Dr. 
Buckley, in his Constitutional and Parliamentary History of 
Methodism, has also declared how he considers that it may be 
constitutionally altered. 

If the time ever comes when a church holds on to "doctrinal 
standards" because its constitution and restrictive rules make 
it impossible to change them, rather than because they are a 
true expression of its present living and abiding faith, then 
they are no longer an expression of real faith. Doctrinal stand- 
ards that are really believed do not need to be preserved by a 
law forbidding the church to alter them. Standards of doctrine 
which the church would change if it could, but does not change 
simply because it cannot do so constitutionally are no stand- 
ards at all, and can have no moral value in the life of the church. 
A church is strong and commands the respect and the thought 
of men only in proportion as it has a faith that it can take to 
thinking and truth-seeking men and say, not, "Here is something 
you shall believe," but rather, "Here is something so reasonable 
and scriptural and true that if you will only examine it you will 
believe it." If any type of Christian faith in the world can 
hope to commend itself to men by its reasonableness, Method- 
ism's system of doctrine, rightly interpreted and worthily pro- 
claimed, can cherish this hope. 

There are rules that bind but do not govern; and there are 
other rules that govern but do not bind. The former are imposed 
db extra by authority, and unless maintained by external author- 
ity they will cease to be followed. The latter are addressed to 
the reason and are imposed by moral free agents upon them- 
selves ; their authority comes ab intra and ceases only when they 
cease to command approval and faith. Articles of faith and 
statements of doctrine belong properly to that class of rules 
which seek to govern rather than to bind, and whose authority 
is derived from the force with which they appeal to the reason 



170 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

and command the faith of believers. The day in which we live 
is characterized by marked and outspoken impatience of any- 
thing imposed by ecclesiastical authority and designed to bind 
men, but it is generously open to whatever seeks to govern by an 
appeal to reason and by the inherent authority of that which 
can approve itself as being righteous and true. Methodism docs 
not seek, and has never sought, to bind men's faith by imposing 
on them a system of doctrine which they accept only because 
the church teaches it; but it does seek to guide and govern men 
by presenting to them a system of doctrine so simple, so reason- 
able, and so scriptural that they will freely accept it because it 
commends itself to them as being true. The widespread una- 
nimity of Methodists in doctrine is all the more noteworthy be- 
cause of the fact that the largest possible liberty has always 
been allowed to individuals in matters of theological opinion. 
When we remember that the Thirty-nine Articles of the 
Church of England, from which our Twenty-five Articles were 
taken, were written nearly four hundred years ago, and came 
from a body of men who were Calvinist in theology, and that 
our Twenty-five Articles do not contain any statement of several 
of the most distinctive doctrines of Methodism; and when we 
also consider the fact that Mr. Wesley's Sermons and Notes 
on the New Testament are cumbersome and difficult of ace ess 
and of examination, as statements of doctrine, it is worth our 
while to ask whether Methodism does not need a clearer, briefer, 
more modern, and more satisfactory statement of its doctrines 
than is found in these doctrinal standards of the church. And 
we would answer this question by saying that if such a state- 
ment of doctrine when prepared is to be used to bind men's 
faith and curtail our present liberty in matters of theological 
opinion and to create a means and method of discovering and 
trying and expelling heretics, then are we much better off with- 
out it. But if, leaving our present doctrinal standards un- 
changed and untouched, we could have such a brief and satis- 
factory modern statement of doctrine as I ha\e refenvd to, 
which should be used for the better instruction of our younger 



UNION OP AMERICAN METHODISM 171 

ministers and members, and which those who are not Methodists 
could easily refer to and examine, we believe it would have great 
educational value and add greatly to the influence of our sys- 
tem of doctrine in the world at large. 

Methodist Theology Irenic and not Polemic 

The theology that best reflects the spirit of Christianity in our 
day, and whose influence will be most largely felt for good, must 
be irenic and not polemic. No type of theology in the entire 
range of Christian doctrine is more irenic than that of Meth- 
odism. While it is positive and definite, it is also liberal and 
generous in its attitude toward all other types of evangelical 
Christian faith. It contributes in a real and helpful way toward 
the spirit of fraternity and Christian unity that is one of the 
most marked characteristics of modern Christianity. The spirit 
and genius of Methodism lend themselves genuinely and gener- 
ously to whatever tends to unite the followers of Christ in any 
movement or service that seeks to save sinners and to extend 
the kingdom of our common Lord. I have never known a com- 
munity where Methodism was in the ascendancy and Methodist 
theology was the prevailing faith that was not characterized by 
a spirit of Christian fraternity, good will, and a desire for co- 
operation in Christian service among the different denomina- 
tions. 

But consistency demands that we shall put our irenic theology 
into practice first at home, in our own church family. Meth- 
odism ought to be the most potent influence in American Chris- 
tianity in bringing about the closest possible unity and coopera- 
tion among the Protestant churches of this western world. But 
it can never exert this large and beneficent influence fully and 
effectively until it can bring to bear on the Christian world the 
moral impact of a concentrated and united church. Its simple, 
reasonable and Scriptural system of doctrine commends it to 
the Christian world of to-day, and will in many particulars fur- 
nish a basis for a larger union of churches that is doubtless 



17J A WORKING CONKKKKNCE ON THE 

ahead. Toward this goal of church union on the basis of a com- 
mon faith Methodism should not only move, hut earnestly work 
in that spirit of Christian fraternity that has always character- 
ized her relations with other churches. 

Influence of Methodist Doctiiine 

I have mentioned only a few of the many points in theology 
where Methodist doctrine has powerfully influenced the theology 
of the Christian world. But as a matter of fact all alon<r the 
line of Christian doctrine the luminous presence and influence 
of Methodism can be traced, tending always and everywhere to 
make God more lovable, man more free and responsible, the 
atonement more available, the way of salvation more intelligible 
and inviting, the church more evangelical and evangelistic, 
eternal death less incomprehensible, and eternal life more attain- 
able. These are the doctrines which Methodism has proclaimed 
from its beginning, and not one of them does it need now to 
alter or modify. Faith in these divine doctrines is becoming 
well-nigh universal among Protestants, and this fact is doing 
more than anything else to bring Christian churches, which find 
themselves so near to each other in the fellowship of a common 
faith, into an increasing desire for closer union and cooperation 
in whatever makes for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. 



*te 



JxruEASE of Church Efficiency and Influence «y Union 

But, says some one, have we not fought well under separate 
banners, and have we not won great victories fighting separately 
and independently, and had we not better 'Met well enough 
alone"? Yes, we reply, if our day is largely done, and our work 
as a church is approaching its end. But if the world's evan- 
gelization has just fairly begun, and the hardest and greatest 
and grandest work of our own and other churches is ahead of 
us; if the work of saving sinners at home and advancing the 
kingdom of Christ abroad spreads out before us as a vision large 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 173 

and long, to the ends of the earth and the end of time; if the 
education and moral culture and spiritual development and 
training for Christian service of our converts and members are 
the church's never-ending work; if a church means Christians 
possessing a common faith organized under wise leadership for 
the most effective service; and if union and organization mean 
more power in influencing and serving others for good, and 
will thus make possible results and achievements that are impos- 
sible to the same number of Christians split up into needless divi- 
sions — if all or any of these things be true, then let us, with our 
faces turned toward the future, prepare our common Methodism, 
in every possible way, for the largest and best service ; and this 
certainly means, in the twentieth century, a united Methodism. 
Church divisions, where union can be and ought to be, are fast 
coming to be an anachronism — they are things out of date. If 
"Christ for the world" is the first and greatest doctrine of our 
faith, then "the world for Christ," its logical corollary, becomes 
our first and greatest duty. Methodism leads the world in the 
boldness with which it has proclaimed a gospel for all man- 
kind, and it ought now to lead the world in the example it sets 
not only in brotherly love and the spirit of cooperation, but in 
that which world evangelization now demands, namely, union 
and organization under common leadership made possible by a 
common faith. 

The commercial world is teaching us the value of concentra- 
tion and union, and we do well to learn wisdom from the chil- 
dren of this world. Shall sectarianism and sectionalism, shall 
church pride and the memory of old issues that are forever dead, 
keep us who have a common faith in Christ and in the doctrines 
that he taught always apart ? Let it not be so. The day for a 
united American Methodism is at hand. So numerous and con- 
vincing are the reasons and arguments for union that the burden 
of proof must henceforth rest upon those who favor division 
and oppose union. 

Brethren, I desire to cast my vote here and now for denomina- 
tional disarmament and for putting out of commission all officers 



1T4 A WORKING CONFNRKNCH Ox\ THE 

and leaders whose weapons are sectionalism and sectarianism 
and I also desire to vote that we enter forthwith upon a cam- 
paign of spiritual preparedness through love, fellowship, and 
united service for the spiritual conquest of the whole world in 
the name of Jesus Christ, our divine, human Lord. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 175 



THE PROBLEM: DOCTRINE AND RITUAL 

Peofessoe J. W. E. Bowen, Ph.D., D.D. 

Ameeica foe AMERICANS. This is not a political shib- 
boleth to be used flippantly as a vote-catcher by the stump 
orator. It is a rational, national, psychological, and the only 
reasonable dictum of the American republic. America is not 
for hyphenated Americans, such as Afro- Americans, or Franco- 
Americans, or Russo-Americans, or German-Americans, or even 
for Anglo-Saxo-Americans. To attempt to perpetuate the 
sources of geographical nativity or even racial origin in a 
republic such as ours, where our multiform individual racial 
units are expected to become one in our melting pot, is contrary 
to the original divine purpose and the supreme effort of our 
nationalism and fosters those racial elements that are the tinder 
in race riots and industrial strikes. How slow we are in appre- 
hending the thought of God as to the meaning of American- 
ism! This mighty civic and humane government is not built 
upon color or blood or ancestry or nativity. These character- 
istics are the ear-marks of the old and effete dynasties and mon- 
archies of the East and of Europe. But Americanism is patri- 
otism for American. He who can and will sing "My Country, 
'tis of thee," and will bare his breast in times of danger or war 
and shed his blood in the defense of the flag and for the protec- 
tion of the institutions of America, be he white or black, brown 
or yellow — that man who, as in the marriage vow, forsakes all, 
even father and mother, lands and houses, and cleaves unto 
America for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, is an Amer- 
ican. We tolerate heterogeneity of blood — not that there is such 
a thing in the basal elements of human blood, but the term is 
descriptive of facial color; but we insist upon homogeneity of 
thought, purpose, and principle in the individual units of our 
compound and yet unitary democracy. 



176 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Weep over the fact as we should weep, it is nevertheless a 
lamentable fact that history cannot forget, namely, had the 
bronzed-faced man of the mighty Seminoles, or the warlike 
Choctaws, or the bloody and misguided followers of Sitting 
Bull entered into the spirit of America and wept with her and 
become regenerated in the new birth of our nationalism, we 
would not be called upon to-day to bewail the sad and pathetic 
march of that great people to their opening grave. This is not 
a justification of the unchristian dictum of the survival of the 
fittest, it is a recognition of a stubborn fact of experience. 
Herein is one of the many places where the descendants of 
Ethiopia showed their superior and sagacious political knowl- 
edge and their downright common sense. They forgot their 
stripes and took up their guns and with a song marched shoulder 
to shoulder with the proud cavalier of Virginia, the sturdy 
Huguenot of South Carolina, the iron man from the mountains 
of Tennessee, the unyielding descendant of Cromwell of New 
England, and the reckless and fearless Rough Rider from 
Dakota and Nevada, and gave their blood cheerfully that the 
"Government of the people, for the people and by the people" 
might not be blotted out from the face of the earth. 

Christianity for Christians 

The second term of this universal statement is used only for 
differentiation. Not that all Christians are Christian, but that 
Christian believers belong to Christianity and not to any other 
form of religion. Across the lintels of the door posts of our 
Christianity hang two sparkling legends that open the gates to 
those who appear for entrance, namely, first, "Repent and be 
converted from your sins"; second, "Of a truth I perceive that 
God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that 
feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him." 
This truth cannot be too frequently proclaimed from every pul- 
pit. Our Christianity stands here as upon a Gibraltar of un- 
yielding foundation. 

In 185 7 the English and the French were engaged in battle 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 177 

with the Chinese. Some thought that possibly the jack tars of 
her Majesty's government would be endangered in these Chinese 
waters. Lying off at a safe distance was an American man of 
war rocking with a nonchalance in these salty waters. Her 
flag looked like a patch of heaven when the sun tinges the western 
sky with his master brush with those livid colors that would 
have made the "Divine Raphael" stand still and wonder, when 
suddenly the American sea dog gave orders to weigh anchor and 
steam alongside of the English vessel. The day before this, these 
Englishmen had pulled him from the rocks or shoals. For the 
daring and unwarranted act of the American vessel that steamed 
alongside of the British vessel, that approached a violation of 
international neutrality, this audacious American commander 
was taken to task by his government. "Blood," shouted this 
bold American, "is thicker than water." This sententious sen- 
tence sent a thrill throughout the nation; and while the offend- 
ing officer was regarded as lacking in diplomacy, he was never- 
theless acclaimed a true American. 

These words have become an American classicism to express 
the then accepted interpretation of the profound unity of the 
descendants of the Anglo-Saxons. But, scrutinizing this rhetor- 
ical classicism, we find that the "blood" referred to bv this 
commander, Josiah Tatnall, a true son of Georgia, is the vital 
fluid of the physical organism. But the pagan Arab or untamed 
Bedouin goes the American one better when he declares that 
"milk brothers" are closer than "blood brothers." He, the Arab, 
bases solidarity upon the first post-natal food. But, higher still, 
the profoundest dialectician and exegete of the teachings of the 
Christ rises to the vertex of truth when he bases the solidarity of 
the Christian church upon "the blood of the cross." To him 
those in whose life flows the one divine, mystic, life-giving cur- 
rent, supplying the whole body-spiritual and ecclesiastic — these 
are members one of another because members of Him who is the 
center of life. 

This truth is the dynamic element in his argument against 
Jewish pretensions. These case-hardened Jews had even the 



178 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

simplicity of thought to hurl into the face of the Great Teacher 
their false and unspiritual interpretation of the meaning of 
Abrahamic blood. Paul declares that Abraham ic seed lieth not 
in Abrahamic blood but in Abrahamic faith. The atmosphere 
of this truth was too highly rarefied for these materialistic men 
to breathe. The contrary to this spiritual truth was the rock 
upon which Jewish nationalism split. Carrying out this thought 
of the apostle, he himself summarizes one of the purposes of the 
gospel, in his Ephesian Epistle, thus: "Till we all come in the 
unity of the faith, unto the knowledge of the Son of God, unto 
a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of 
Christ." 

This represents the solidarity of Christianity. This is a far 
cry from racial blood to the blood of the cross ; from race unity 
to Christian unity. In this cool atmosphere of second sober 
thought, with no gallery in sight and with an audience of 
thinkers and God-fearing men all searching for the foundations 
of truth, and nothing but the truth, that God's kingdom may be 
advanced, we may well congratulate ourselves upon the oppor- 
tunity to speak as God gives space and time. 

Methodism for Methodists 

It is fitting that the writer file a caveat at this juncture before 
he passes to the body of his thought. No single address, lx* it 
never so carefully wrought out, can state the whole truth in- 
volved in the subject under discussion. Truth, to use a mathe- 
matical figure, is a polyhedron, and he were a bold and presump- 
tuous investigator who would claim that he sees all of its sides. 
Modesty and good sense suggest to the prudent investigator that 
he do not pull out the grand organ stops when announcing his 
studies and opinions. The example of the great Newton may Ik 1 
followed by the students of religious science as well as by those 
of the physical sciences with great profit. 

The desire and effort, if we may so speak, to unify into an 
organic whole the Methodist hosts of America is not cut from the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 179 

same piece of cloth used by George Calixtus in the seventeenth 
century, when he and others in different communities sought by 
a well-meaning purpose, but a dogmatic syncretism, to bring in 
a harmony and union which, if it had been successful, would 
have made only a religious conglomerate of those utterly in- 
compatible systems of beliefs and practice. This is one of the 
instances in church history where the inflexible dogmatism of a 
Christian teacher spurred on by an imperfect understanding 
of logical sequences and blinded by a zeal alien to the common- 
wealth of knowledge, finally prevented an unholy union of 
utterly divergent doctrines and irreconcilable practices. The 
effort of Methodism to-day is not of this kind; in fact there is 
no analogy between the two movements. 

Methodism was called into being not to compile a new system 
of doctrine or ritual, but to revive truth and to live a life before 
a gainsaying and dying world. The formalism and procrustean 
deism of England in the eighteenth century had wrapped their 
paralyzing grip around the very heart of the Christianity of the 
British Isles. Like the slimy mythological serpents that wound 
their deathly coils around the faithless Laocoon and his degen- 
erate sons, these two death-dealing forces were choking the life 
out of the church. Or, to change the figure, the phlegmatic and 
paralyzed Christianity of that day needed heroic treatment. 
Wesley was used of God to open the jugular vein of the deisti- 
cally corrupt church, made so by John Locke and his disciples 
in physical science, and pour into it the red blood of spiritual 
vitality and thus reclaim the church from that ennui which pre- 
sages sure death by a soulless intellectualism. Never before was 
it so fully demonstrated that intellectualism as such is as much 
an idol of the library as superstition is an idol of the cave and 
that an idol of the library is no more worthy of consideration, 
nor can it work a regeneration of mankind any more than an idol 
of the den or cave. In this regard the intellectualism of London 
and Oxford at the time and the fetishism of Timbuctoo, Africa, 
were two peas in a pod and were fit only to be cast out and 
trodden under foot of men. With this difference, let it be said, 



180 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

that fetishism does give an idea of a supra-natural and inspires 
awe and fear in its devotees, and these elements, though crude 
and animalistic, have some place in the basal elements of reli- 
gion ; but intelleetualism, simon pure, lias the effrontery of self- 
complacency and self-sufficiency, which characteristics are at 
variance with and diametrically opposed to the contrite heart 
and humble spirit, the joy of the Lord. 

Methodism is a life more than a creed, a living, pulsating 
faith more than a dogma, a spiritual reality more than a literary 
vagary, a divine passion more than a rubric, a flaming evangel 
to the man in sin and without hope more than a philosophical 
treatise upon immortality or the philosophy of the origin of 
sin; in sum, Methodism is life, not theory — God's life in man 
blossoming into the fruits of peace, righteousness among men, 
and holiness to God. It is the voice of one crying in the wilder- 
ness of sin, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand," 
and, like Tertullian, she poured forth the truth of God through 
rough pipes at times, but it was the truth hot from the throne. 
Nevertheless, Methodism has a creed or doctrine. The term 
"creed" is here used interchangeably with the term "doctrine." 
The term "creed" has a bad odor about it, but it is a harmless 
odor, the times arc supercilious and fastidious about strong and 
meaty words. The bare mention of the word seems to breathe 
the fumes of that bitter period of logomachy and period of fire, 
blood and sword when Christian teachers felt it their bounden 
duty to fight for the faith once delivered to the saints. We 
look back to-day over the shoulders of history upon that sul- 
phurous period and pity their hot-tempered zeal. But truth is 
justified in all her children. 'Tis easy to criticize. 'Twere 
better to walk backward and cover those scenes with the garment 
of Christian charity. 

But a church cannot exist and perpetuate its life without a 
doctrine. A denial of the possession of doctrine is a doctrine 
itself, for agnosticism is a species of gnosticism and cannot be 
defended except by a cunningly devised and ingenious species of 
gnosticism. Not only must the man of faith give a reason for 



trisrioisr of American methodism isi 

his faith, but the man who doubts must give a reason for his 
doubts; for doubt, in his case, is his faith. Doctrine is the intel- 
lectual conception of divine revelation cast into symmetrical 
statement according to the laws of logic. It is belief crystallized 
into logical form. A creedless church is a doctrineless church 
and a doctrineless church is a monstrosity. Even as science 
must posit the existence of the atom and molecule as the basis 
and starting point for its investigations, and this is its faith, 
for without it, it cannot live, so likewise, but in a more con- 
vincing and demonstrable form, the church declares its "faith" 
or "doctrine." 'Twere as logical and sensible to speak of a back- 
boneless man as to speak of a doctrineless church. While such 
language is a contradiction of terms from a physiological point 
of view, it is no unseen sight, though an unseemly one, to run 
across a backboneless moral creature. 

It is now ancient history, well read by the school boy in every 
Sunday school, that Methodism believes some things, and believes 
them tremendously, whether they are episcopal Methodists or 
independent Methodists. We are a unit at heart upon the funda- 
mental biblical truths of Christianity, the preaching of which 
is turning the world right side up, and which preaching has 
given our most glorious cognomen from the time that Wesley 
felt his heart "strangely warmed" to this very hour, namely, 
"Christianity in earnest." The most succinct statement of our 
fundamental beliefs or doctrines given recently was the admir- 
able summary written by the late Bishop Andrews in the Epis- 
copal Address in the year 1904 at Los Angeles, California. 
Referring to John Wesley's teachings, he thus speaks : "Among 
those truths which he lifted out of the dust of ages were at least 
these: the deep guilt of sin, the equal redemption of all men by 
the vicarious atonement, the absolute freedom of the human 
will, the entire practicability of salvation now for any sinner, 
the attainability of perfect cleanliness and perfect love in this 
life, the infinite and impartial love of the seeking Eather-God, 
the real and complete humanity and the proper and absolute 
deity of Jesus Christ, the personality and omnipresence of the 



18v' A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Holy Ghost as a transforming and witnessing Spirit, and the 
nearness of a real and eternal heaven and a real and eternal 
hell. No doubt the vast mass of the Methodists in all lands can 
sincerely say of these truths, so vital to Methodism and to any 
real progress of Christianity, 'All these things I steadfastly 
believe/ " 

The question of the organic unity of certain denominations 
of the Methodist family is uppermost in the minds of the law- 
makers, North and South, and will engage the attention of the 
law-making body of the Methodist Episcopal Church in its ensu- 
ing General Conference as it has claimed the attention of kin- 
dred bodies of the Methodist Protestant Church and of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in their recent legislative 
bodies. 

It is reported that Horace Greeley, one of the editorial Ana- 
kims that walked the land in the sixties and seventies, accosted 
Mr. John Sherman one day as he approached his office on News- 
paper Row, in New York city, with a very pointed question, but 
one that required thought and sound political wisdom. It was 
during the murky days of the reconstruction period, when 
Rutherford B. Hayes sat in the chair at Washington and John 
Sherman was wrestling with the problem of the resumption of 
specie payment and was shaping legislation to that end. Mr. 
Sherman was thus addressed: "Mr. Sherman, how shall we 
resume specie payment?" Sherman, who had been thinking 
upon this subject for a long time, and had wound his way 
through the mazes of political expediency and claptrap, and 
had grown weary of platitudes and fine-spun theories, and con- 
sequently was willing no longer to finger away valuable time by 
trying to untie the Gordian knot, replied with Saxon curtness 
that had the edge of an Alexandrine blade upon it: "The best 
way to resume, is to resume." 

In the matter of organic unity, or denominational marriage, 
( old reason orders that we ascertain whether the contracting 
parties are suitable to each other in their temperaments and in 
their basal ideas or doctrines, for, be well assured that ineom- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 183 

patibility of temper and divergence in the fundamental ideas of 
life and immortality are as destructive of denominational peace 
and lead to either continual quarrels or divorce as in many 
unequal marriages among men and women. They must think 
alike as well as love alike to be well mated. 

In the study of the question of unity of doctrine and ritual, 
investigation does not proceed at any length before we run upon 
a paradox in the least expected place. Despite the long years of 
critical study and the merciless word war that attended the same 
for finding out the mind of God touching salvation, the truth of 
revelation was more easily discoverable and unity of interpreta- 
tion more quickly arrived at than unity in the rubrics of ritual- 
ism or the policies of administration. It was Guizot, the versa- 
tile French political philosopher, who said that the common 
sense of mankind is its safest philosophy, and while it is doubt- 
less true that common sense has a hard time in getting a hear- 
ing, it is also true that common sense will ultimately gain the 
ascendancy over faulty reasoning, for God made common sense. 
This last sense finally dictated certain approved canons for the 
ascertainment of the truth of Scripture. 

Among these are an open mind; a severe logical temper that 
pursues the path of reason according to the laws of the suffi- 
cient reason, and a responsive faith that yields not to the de- 
mands of dogmatism on the one hand and physical science on 
the other hand. These qualifications or mental equipments in 
the patient and studious investigator are sufficient guarantees 
that truth will be arrived at. Hence, because of these qualifica- 
tions in the learned exegetes of our Christianity it stands out 
to-day that evangelical Christianity is more a unit upon funda- 
mental truth than upon the forms of worship and the methods 
of government. Doctrine is of God, and God is the revealer of 
the same. Eitual has in it more of human sentiment and the 
predilection of a community than has truth. All men recognize 
that truth comes from above and are willing to stand, after due 
and proper exercise of the mind, with unsandaled feet and 
uncovered head in the sanctuary of inquiry or of worship and 



1S4 A WOKKINii CONFERENCE ON THE 

with the words of the youthful Samuel upon their lips say 
reverently. "Speak, Lord, Tor thy servant heareth." But when 
it comes to the norms of worship, intellectual eoneeptions, social 
predilections, personal aesthetic views and mannerisms and even 
racial prejudices all combine in a mighty struggle for expres- 
sion and the mastery. In other words, while we are not willing 
to negleet the weightier matters of the law, such as righteous- 
ness, temperance, and judgment to come, we find it easy and we 
are disposed to tithe the mint, the rue, and the cumin. 

It must be patent, therefore, to clear-though ted men that 
any effort that seeks to harmonize and bring into a constructive 
and organic unity any two or three separately operating ecclesi- 
asticisms upon any other basis than that of the unity of spirit, 
doctrine, ritual, and purpose, is contrary to the genius of Chris- 
tianity and will inevitably prove abortive should such a spurious 
reorganization be effected. I refer again to our American 
republic, as it is probably the best type of a government that 
approaches our Christianity, though it is full of defects. Its 
singular unity is grounded upon the singular faith of its 
citizenry in democracy. Were it true that one half of our civic 
constituency believed in oligarchy or in monarchy and the other 
half clung to democracy, we would have anarchy in less than a 
fortnight. We must have, and now have, that kind of political 
faith as was expressed by Daniel Webster's unbreakable "and." 
Kven so likewise, Christian church unity must be grounded upon 
essential unitary faith. Any acrimonious or even prolonged dis- 
cussion upon norms and forms is a frittering away of valuable 
time which may more wisely be given to a painstaking search 
of our deeper thinkings. 

I do not advocate unity at any price. Such a cry in church 
or state, is void of good sense and is worthy of the senility of age 
or the immaturity of youth, both of which are devoid of the 
adjunct of intelligence. Therefore, if it should come to pass 
that one Christian church should require that another Christian 
church shall repudiate its ordination vows as unscriptural, and 
so submit to reordination according to a highly developed 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 185 

sacerdotalism that claims preeminent divine authority, it is clear 
that the church appealed to could not retain its self-respect by 
submitting to such a self abasement. 

Two of the great questions of the day that engage the minds 
of men are, Peace by Arbitration and Organic Union of Chris- 
tian Forces. The Methodisms of America are deeply concerned 
about the latter question. Our difficulties are not insuperable 
from any view point. We do not hide our faces to the differences 
in our polity; some very accentuated ones, nevertheless. It is 
safe to say that the Discipline of any one of these churches could, 
with slight variations, by the transfer of paragraphs, by regroup- 
ing and emendations of those parts not considered essential to 
the denominational integrity of the church involved, be used by 
any one or both of the other churches and the rank and file of 
our constituency would not detect the slightest change or expe- 
rience the least jar in the machinery. 

The desire to harmonize all our minor differences when once 
under the influence of the Holy Spirit is a saving quality of 
our humanity. This fact is a beautiful attestation of the work 
of the Holy Spirit in his divine office as Illuminator. What is 
this but the commonest verification of the truth uttered by the 
beloved disciple, which saith, "This is that Light which lighteth 
every man that cometh into the world" ? 

It is a source of gratification that the increased apparata for 
finding truth and the centuries of prayerful study are bringing 
us to the place where we have begun to disentangle ourselves 
from the web of false theories and denominational exclusiveness. 
John Wesley has given us two compact sayings that we do well 
to keep hanging over our door fronts. The first is, "The world 
is my parish." His followers have not been slow to interpret his 
words in terms of universality. They seem to hear him say : 

No pent up Utica contracts your powers, 
But the whole boundless continent is yours. 

It is fortunate for us that we are not seeking to bring into 
one fold a church that believes in a hierarchical system of gov- 



186 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

eminent and the priestly conception of the clergy and the laity 
with a modern Protestant and democratic church that believes 
more in apostolic success than in apostolic succession, as Dr. 
Upham used to say in his masterful way. Nor are we endeavor- 
ing to weld into one harmonious whole parts of churches whose 
doctrines are apart upon the eternal verities. These churches 
are parts of a natural organism, and may easily be reunited. 
What better basis of union can we find than the second saving 
of our patron saint that has the flavor of a Johannine love pas- 
sage: "It thine heart is right as my heart is with thy heart; if 
thou lovest God and all mankind, I ask no more. Give me thine 
hand." 

Two outstanding facts confront us when we study the history 
of the various branches of Methodism in this country, and to 
these facts each branch of this great family refers with pride. 
First: Every branch or school of Methodists, together with the 
parent stock in England, asserts its claim, with unyielding assid- 
uity, to a heritage in all the original history, deeds, and glory 
of the earliest Methodist movement. It is interesting to observe 
the vigor with which these children of Wesley claim and pro- 
claim their adherence to and unqualified birthright in the very 
essence and spirit of Methodism. Any attempt on the part of 
any older or stronger branch of this evangelical ecclesiasticism 
to look down upon or to regard as an illegitimate in the 
family even the weakest or smallest of Wesley's children, even 
that one born day before yesterday, will be met with a storm of 
rebuke and anathemas from that weak one of the family that 
will make the offending party believe more strongly in reality of 
fire and brimstone. It should be said also that whatever qualify- 
ing adjective one of these Methodist churches may use to dif- 
ferentiate its community from another community, it is not for 
purposes of isolation or to express a difference in doctrine. That 
being the case, the claim to legitimacy and to a part of 
the heritage is recognized by the whole family as well 
founded. 

All of us started in old John Street, white and black ; all of 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 187 

us were with Francis Asbury, white and Black (Harry), and no 
one of us, from the day that John Fletcher Avove into a theo- 
logical system the Five Points of Arminianism to the time when 
Adam Clarke by his approved exegetical methods based our 
theology upon a "Thus saith the Lord," down through the ages, 
has changed that teaching in substance or statement. That 
theology has not suffered a vagary; and has not changed its 
acute accent for a grave or circumflex in the least. Our teachers 
have not ceased to preach every sentence of our faith from every 
housetop and in every valley to every people of every time and 
clime. 

And what is even more gratifying, the truth, spirit, and lan- 
guage of our teachings have saturated and honeycombed and 
given life and power to all the dominant faiths of evangelical 
Christianity. It may therefore be truthfully declared that good 
Arminianism, as interpreted by Methodism, is the heart and 
soul of the most effective gospel preaching of the day. Thus, 
in word and spirit, in life and thought, Methodist doctrine is a 
unit and a power for the conversion of the world. 

Men and brethren, standing upon the threshold of a new cen- 
tury and facing the opening world with its ancient gates battered 
down by a permissive providence, dark and inscrutable; pos- 
sessing the divine Sesame that will unlock all rusty gates 
hitherto long closed to the gospel; and having a clear sense of 
our oneness in essentials, may not a descendant of the mighty 
Ethiopian paraphrase the words of the eunuch to Philip and 
address them to you and say, "What doth hinder you from being 
baptized into One Divine Unbreakable Organic World Meth- 
odist Union that takes no note of whether the component units 
are Jew or Gentile; Scythian, Bond, or Free; white or black, but 
all being One in Christ Jesus our King, for the prosecution 
of the work of the gospel, to bring into a glorious reality the 
prophetic prayer of the Christ which he uttered just before he 
went to his cross, saying, 'That they all may be one; as thou, 
Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in 
us ; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me' " ? 



1SS A WORKING CONFERENCE 

May this conference of representatives of Methodisms in this 
country, after prayerful study and sincere effort and a longing 
of soul, say throughout our "far-flung battle line" and constit- 
uency, as the multitudes said when Urban VI in 1095 preached 
the Crusades, "Deus vult"— "God wills it." 



THE PROBLEM: CHURCH DISCIPLINE 

FITZGERALD S. PARKER, D.D., 

General Secretary of the Epworth League, Methodist Episcopal 

Church, South 

J. ALBERT JOHNSON, D.D., 
Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church 

JOHN W. HAMILTON, D.D., 
Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church 



THE PEOBLEM : CHUKCH DISCIPLINE 
Fitzgerald S. Parker, D.D. 

The primary object of Jesus's work was the salvation of men. 
His work was of an individual character, symbolized by the 
recovery of the lost sheep and exemplified by the restoration of 
the publican. It can be no longer questioned that he intended 
to form a visible society that was to be the chief agency in the 
accomplishment of his mission. It was therefore in harmony 
with the mind of the Master that the ministry of the apostles 
was largely devoted to the organization of the Christian church, 
the existence of which is presupposed, if not distinctly described, 
in the entire New Testament. The apostolic church gave a body 
to the eternal life of the risen Lord, thereby revealing his Life 
and making its perpetuation possible amid the threatenings of 
Jewish Pharisaism and Eoman paganism. 

Moral discipline, in harmony with the teaching of the Lord 
(Matt. 18. 17ff.; John 20. 13) was the most important feature 
of the inner life of the primitive church. The Pauline Epistles 
are full of tender solicitude that the church be kept pure. To the 
Corinthian Church he writes: "Know ye not that ye are a 
temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If 
any man destroyeth the temple of God, him will God destroy; 
for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." The writer 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews exhorts the members of the church 
to mutual care : "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love 
and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves to- 
gether as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another ; and 
so much more as ye see the day drawing nigh." (Heb. 10. 25ff.) 
In like manner Jude passionately counsels the Christian society 
in the midst of almost overwhelming evils: "Keep yourselves 
in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus 
Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 19.) The prevailing message 

191 



192 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

to the Seven Churches is "I know thy works." The blessing of 
the risen Lord is "to him that overcometh." 

Hatch has shown that the early Christian communities were 
bound together by a common ideal rather than a common creed. 
The period of earnest endeavor to reproduce the pattern of the 
Incarnate life long preceded that of metaphysical definition of 
that life. Hence the early tests were moral rather than intel- 
lectual. Discipline was designed to keep the church true to the 
ideal, and was a necessity of the early church because many of 
her members were in the infancy of moral conceptions. To the 
Corinthians Paul could write: "Know ye not that the unright- 
eous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: 
neither fornicators nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, 
nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, 
nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the 
kingdom of God. And such were some of you." (1 Cor. 6. 
9-11.) The Thessalonian converts had to be instructed in the 
elements of morals — to keep their bodies in sanctification. Not 
only had they come out of such a life; they were forced into 
daily contact with it. "The kingdom of God was come, which 
is a kingdom of righteousness. Each organized gathering of 
believers seemed to itself to be the visible realization of the holy 
city of which the greatest of the Hebrew poets had sung and 
which the greatest of Christian seers had seen. Between that 
city of God and the diseased and decaying society that sur- 
rounded it there was perpetual and sharp antithesis. And the 
antithesis was the sharper because the one and the other were 
in close and daily contact." (Organization of the Early Church. 
Hatch.) 

With the conversion of Constantino and the passing of the 
church from oppression to authority there came a change of 
emphasis in discipline. Correctness of belief superseded right- 
eousness of life as the test of membership, and it was not more 
than sixty years after the church had emerged from the last 
great persecution for righteousness sake, purged as by fire, 
until extreme persecution was practiced against heretics, and the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 193 

outstanding feature of the history of the church of the fourth 
century is the Arian controversy, with its reciprocal intolerance 
and persecution. 

"The great change which began with the conversion of Con- 
stantine is not only a decisive turning point, but is the key to 
many difficulties of the present day." (Hobhouse, The Church 
in World, in Idea and in History.) State recognition intended to 
narrow the line of separation between the church and the world; 
and here at present is the region of the problem of moral dis- 
cipline. "The church of the future is destined more and more to 
return to the condition of things that prevailed in the ante- 
Nicene church; that is to say, that instead of pretending to be 
coextensive with the world, it will confess itself the church of a 
minority, will accept a position involving a more conscious 
antagonism to the world, and will in return regain some measure 
of its ancient coherence." (Hobhouse, Ibid.) 

My apology for sketching again in bare outline these features 
of early church history is that analogies, if not parallels to the 
rise of Methodism will there be found that throw light upon our 
present problem of moral discipline. 

The evangelists of the eighteenth century had no formal 
paganism, no dominant Pharisaism, no obsolescent hierarchy 
fighting for its own perpetuation to face; but they were con- 
fronted and opposed by an established Christianity that had 
lost its moral ideal, was in many of its organized parts without 
vitality, that had obliterated the line of demarkation between the 
church and the world and, conceiving of the church as coexten- 
sive with the state, sought to make good its theory by sacra- 
mental dispensations of grace that had neither ethical value nor 
spiritual power; and ecclesiasticism that strangely mingled with 
its prevailing Protestantism remnants of a thaumaturgie sacer- 
dotalism carried over from the mediaeval church; a heteroge- 
neous association that to this day causes doubt in the minds of 
church men whether they are Catholic or Protestant, and while 
setting some to apologizing for the Reformation, calls others into 
the fellowship of the Wesleyan evangelicalism. 



194 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

The Oxford movement of the eighteenth century was itself 
mediaeval to an extent that was not realized until the appearance 
of Curnock's edition of the Diaries of John Wesley. The mem- 
bers of the Holy Club were indeed seekers after holiness by means 
of almost monastic disciplines; and after they had found the 
way of faith, they were no less enthusiastic preachers of the doc- 
trine that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." 

For Methodism the essential thing was the life of holiness 
which, as in the primitive church, involved separation from the 
spirit and practices of the world in which it had arisen by a 
new appreciation of Jesus Christ as the Minister of Righteous- 
ness and a new baptism of the Holy Spirit as the Sanctifier. 
Between the converts of the Wesleyan revival of the eighteenth 
century and the English church and society there could no more 
be compromise than there could have been between the apostolic 
church and the paganism of Rome of the first three Christian 
centuries. We shall inevitably misinterpret Methodism if we 
fail to realize that it is essentially a return to the moral ideas 
of early Christianity; that the end of the Methodist preacher 
has been from the beginning salvation of the individual from 
sin and that its organization has been developed witli a view to 
safeguarding its converts in the way of holiness. In 118? 
Wesley wrote in the Arminian Magazine : "From this short 
sketch [on Methodism] of Methodism any man of understanding 
may easily discern that it is only plain, scriptural religiou, 
guarded by a few prudential regulations. The essence of it is 
holiness of heart and life; the circumstances all point to this." 
The organized forms of Methodism were originally designed for 
administration of discipline in a small section of a church in 
which moral discipline had practically ceased. The Methodists, 
in the estimation of their leaders, were distinguished not from 
the world only, but from the world in the church. 

The sacramental function was still to be found in the estab- 
lished church, but moral discipline had to be sought in a sup- 
plemental organization within the church. The strength of this 
conviction is to be measured by the tardiness and reluctance with 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 195 

which the societies ultimately took over the sacramental func- 
tion also, thus becoming a church long after they had developed 
organization, theology, discipline, a ministry and all else per- 
taining to a valid New Testament church. On the dark back- 
ground of godless social organism and dormant ecclesiasticism 
these societies were to shine as lights in a dark place, exempli- 
fying on a scale of increasing magnitude the Christian ideal. 
The story of Wesley's journey to Herrnhut, in order that he 
might "see where the Christians live," throws a pathetic light 
upon the conditions in which he struggled for a restoration of 
the discipline of primitive Christianity, to which he ever pro- 
fessed great devotion. His incessant journeyings throughout 
England, Wales, and Ireland during fifty years are the best com- 
ment on this theory of the place of moral discipline in the 
church. He unsparingly purged the societies of all things that 
could offend, but would on no account permit a usurpation of 
the sacramental function of the church. The difference in the 
case of post-Revolution America is too familiar to require more 
than mentioning and is but another illustration of his persistent 
though modified High Churchmanship. 

Early Christianity without the sheltering care of the churches 
and their strict discipline would have fallen a victim to the 
hostile world of paganism. So would the converts of the early 
Methodist evangelists but for the sheltering fold of the United 
Societies with their fellowship and discipline. The passionate 
appeals of Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Augustine and other early 
apologists to the superior morality of the Christians finds its 
parallel in Wesley's frequent defense of Methodism on the 
ground that it had been the means of moral renovation to thou- 
sands. Like Saint Paul writing to the Corinthians, he could 
point to the Societies as his letter of commendation, '*known and 
read of all men, being made manifest that they were an epistle 
of Christ, ministered by the Methodist preachers, written not 
with ink, but with the spirit of the living God ; not in tables of 
stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh." Pointing to the 
depraved example of those who were addicted to the evils which 



196 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

were "most generally practiced," he could say to the members 
of these Societies: "And such were some of you; but ye are 
washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the 
Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of the living God." 

The early formation within the Societies of classes and bands 
still further specialized the movement in the direction of moral 
discipline. Wesley's bands came under severe criticism for their 
supposed resemblance to the detested auricular confession of 
Rome, and it cannot be denied that there were in their methods 
some of the dangers of the confessional. According to his High 
Church bias Wesley deemed himself perfectly competent to 
administer discipline in the Societies, but he insistently but 
wisely associated with himself a sort of lay assistant pastorate 
which has meant more than can be estimated for the moral safe- 
guarding of Methodism, especially in the days of a truly itinerant 
ministry, when without some such device there could have been 
no pastoral continuity. Afterward, when advanced to the full 
estate of a church, Methodism maintained by means of the classes 
the mutual oversight and close fellowship in a disciplinary 
organization that perpetuates its analogy to the primitive Chris- 
tian church. 

It has thus come about that in Methodism moral discipline has 
persisted in fidelity to the type of the original societies no less 
than the fervid evangelism of the early preachers. Indeed, the 
two go together and both are inseparable from the "doctrines." 
A comparative study of the Disciplines of nine American Meth- 
odist churches reveals close resemblance, if not identity, in 
form and almost perfect conformity in spirit. From this study 
I have unwillingly omitted the African Methodist Episcopal 
Zion Church only because by chance I have not a copy of the 
Discipline at hand. Two other of the larger Methodist Epis- 
copal churches, the membership of which is composed of mem- 
bers of the Negro race, have been included, and I believe the 
generalization is sufficiently broad. 

1. The General Rules. Seven churches (The Methodist Epis- 
copal, the Methodist Episcopal, South, the Wesleyan Methodist, 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 19? 

the Primitive Methodist, the African Methodist Episcopal, the 
Free Methodist, and the Colored Methodist Episcopal) have the 
Rules in the form in which Wesley finished them in 1744. Three 
have also the anti-slavery clause of 1788 (the Methodist Epis- 
copal, the Wesley an, and the Free Methodist) . Four lack provi- 
sion in the Rules for dividing the membership into classes (the 
Methodist Episcopal, South, the Methodist Protestant, the 
United Brethren and the Colored Methodist Episcopal, but 
provide elsewhere for class meetings. Two have the Rules in 
different form, but substantially the same; the United Brethren 
differing most by a rewriting of the Wesleyan form under the 
title, "Duties of Members/' The Methodist Protestant varies 
slightly in form, under the head, "Christian Duties" and in- 
cludes in the Rule on forbidden diversions dancing, card-playing, 
games of chance and theatrical performances, and in common 
with the Wesleyan and Free Methodist Churches forbids the 
use of tobacco. 

2. Interpretative Legislation. Supplemental legislation gives 
definition, interpretation, or amplification to some of the items 
of the Rules, particularly the tenth specification, which forbids 
doing what we know is not for the glory of God; particularly 
in matters of dress, diversions, singing, reading, self-indulgence, 
hoarding, borrowing without prospect of repayment, and buying 
without prospect of paying. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church has nine chapters of Special 
Advices, in which the diversions — dancing, card playing, at- 
tending theaters and circuses — are specified. The United 
Brethren Church specifies belonging to secret societies, which 
infringe upon the rights of others, which is forbidden in the 
constitution. Of the same interpretative character are the defi- 
nitions by the Methodist Protestant, the Primitive Methodist, 
and the Free Methodist Churches. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has no interpreta- 
tative legislation, but by order of the General Conference of 
1906 a noble pastoral on worldliness was prepared by the bishops 
and inserted in the Book of Discipline. This address deals not 



198 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

with details, but strikes with incisive power at the root of the 
most insidious, perplexing, and protean of all forms of impru- 
dent conduct and sin that call for moral discipline in the church. 
That this address took the place of one inserted in the Discipline 
four years earlier, in which the "forbidden amusements" were 
named — the modern dance, card playing, theater going, attend- 
ance upon race courses, circuses, and the like — as grounds of 
discipline under the General Rules, is more than an intimation 
of a general trend toward the commitment of these details to the 
instructed Christian conscience and the faithful personal dealing 
of the pastor. 

3. Judicial legislation is provided for, dealing with offenses 
against the moral standards of the church, and in some cases 
goes much farther than the Rules in specification of the exact 
offenses they are designed to cover. This is notably true in the 
case of the celebrated paragraph 271, already becoming a storm 
center for the coming General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. In the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
there is an episcopal decision (1858) which construes the teach- 
ing of dancing and the practice of promiscuous dancing as vio- 
lations of the General Rule that forbids the taking of such 
diversions as cannot be used in the name of the Lord Jesus. 
This decision has all the force of statute law. In the Methodist 
Episcopal and the African Methodist Episcopal Churches these 
acts of a judiciary character are full in the enumeration of the 
commonly understood worldly amusements. 

In all the churches the usual offenses specified in the New 
Testament are included in legislation, some more, some less 
fully ; for example, immorality, divorce, disputes between Chris- 
tians, litigation between members, intemperance, and complicity 
with the liquor traffic. It is interesting to inquire why all the 
churches should have deemed it necessary to legislate specifically 
against things condemned by name in the New Testament, 
and that they should have been somewhat averse from specify- 
ing those things that without being explicitly forbidden seem 
to come under the general prohibitions of the New Testament. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 199 

4. Administration. In all cases the pastor is charged with 
responsibility for the administration of discipline, and except in 
cases of gross immorality, only as a final measure are judicial 
processes to be resorted to. There is an implied duty, nowhere 
specified, so far as I am aware, on the part of the pastor to 
exclude from the Lord's Supper members who are guilty of any 
offense that would be visited with expulsion from the church. 
Trial is by committee in the Methodist Episcopal, the Methodist 
Episcopal, South, the Methodist Protestant, and Free Methodist 
Churches; by a standing judiciary committee in the Wesleyan 
Methodist; by the local church or official board in the United 
Brethren; by the Quarterly Conference in the Primitive Meth- 
odist; and in the African Methodist Episcopal Church by the 
"society or a committee." 

5. Ritual. Eight of the Disciplines compared require in their 
forms for reception of members that the candidates promise to 
renew the baptismal covenant, with its renunciation of the world, 
the flesh, and the devil, and to be governed by the Rules of the 
Church. The pledge of membership in the young people's 
society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church includes 
abstinence from all forms of worldly amusement forbidden by 
the Discipline; in the Free Methodist Church the form for 
reception of members engages the candidate to abstain from 
membership in secret societies and the use of superfluous orna- 
ments. 

Variations in form among the American Methodist churches 
are insignificant; their unity in spirit and interpretation of the 
rules is almost complete. Undoubtedly the interpretation placed 
upon these rules for moral discipline is that which was from the 
beginning placed upon them; but it is generally recognized in 
the Methodist churches that excommunication from the church 
is an act of different character and graver responsibility than 
exclusion from a voluntary society, the members of which are 
competent to make any arbitrary rules that may seem good as 
a test of membership and to enforce the same with exceptionless 
rigor. Whether this difference is clearly articulated or not, the 



200 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

church, in recognition of her own sacramental nature and the 
actual New Testament conditions of membership in the body of 
Christ, has safeguarded the processes of discipline, especially by 
requiring preceding labor and judicial forms for effecting her 
ends of personal salvation. 

The problem of discipline in relation to the union of American 
Methodism is the problem that is before the several branches of 
Methodism, apart from the reciprocal approach which is the 
occasion of this Conference, their union its end. 

I. In solving this problem some larger principles should guide 
us. The purpose of church discipline is the building up of the 
body of Christ and the perfecting of the individual member in 
the unity of that body (Eph. 4. llff.). The prescribed means 
are (1) the inner fellowship of brotherly love and mutual care; 
(2) external restraints. The intercessory prayer of the brother- 
hood, with exhortation and confession, is the means for the 
former (1 John 5. 16; James 5. 16). The latter has its proto- 
type in the decree of the Jerusalem council for the regulation 
of morals in the Gentile churches (Acts 15. 23-29) which re- 
quires "that they abstain from pollution of idols, and from 
fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood." Here 
is an emergency compromise in which we at once recognize the 
associations of things indifferent in morals and things essential. 
We should not to-day consider legislation with reference to the 
eating of things strangled ; but we dare not say that no condition 
ever required anything of the kind. Giving the principle a 
more modern application suppose the theater of Wesley's day, 
which, as late as 1787, he characterized as the "sink of all 
profaneness and debauchery," to be thoroughly reformed, would 
the rule made a hundred and fifty years ago be relevant? 
Wesley said : "I could not see even a good tragedy with a clear 
conscience, at least not in an English theater ; but possibly others 
can. I cannot say so much for balls and assemblies; which are 
more reputable than masquerades, but must be allowed by all 
impartial persons to have exactly the same tendency. So un- 
doubtedly have all public dancings. Of playing cards I say the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 201 

same as seeing plays. I could not do it with a clear conscience. 
But I am not obliged to pass sentence upon those that are other- 
wise minded. I leave them to their own Master." But Wesley, 
the Oxford student, could stop in London on his way to visit his 
aunt and see a famous play ; and home on visit he enjoys dancing 
with his sisters in the Epworth rectory. 

One cannot restrain admiration for the wisdom that has given 
us our doctrines in a series of sermons full of spiritual life, and 
our rules of moral discipline in a succinct resume of New Testa- 
ment morals. We are therefore spared the necessity of recon- 
ciling an antiquated system of theology with the modern view 
point, and we are under no pressure to conform our church dis- 
cipline with obsolete catalogues of offenses that shift with the 
shifting years and the changing modes of men and the ever- vary- 
ing point of approach of that most subtle of all the influences 
adverse to the life of the spirit, the love of the world. 

2. There are limits within which the disciplinary acts of the 
church must be confined. 

(1) The Life of the Founder of the Church must ever be rein- 
terpreted and reapplied to the changing conditions of human 
life and the advances of civilization. There can be no doubt 
that the church of the twentieth century better apprehends the 
significance of the Incarnate ministry than that of the second 
or that of the eighteenth. We shall be happy in our freedom to 
reconceive and apply with fresh light, with ever increasing full- 
ness and accuracy the Life of Lives, which grows upon the 
world's thought and will continue to augment because He is the 
Living One who was dead and is alive forevermore. 

(2) The hideous results of systems of casuistry are a warning 
to the church of all ages against making catalogues of sins and 
scales of demerit attaching thereto. I have just been rereading 
portions of the doctrine of the Jesuits (Gury's Moral Philosophy, 
edited by M. Paul Bert), from which one turns with loathing 
and deep disgust, scarcely escaping the pollutions of its obscene 
touch. It is good to betake oneself to the bracing atmosphere 
or the Rules of the United Societies, in which there is no morbid 



'><>•> A WOHKINCJ CONFERENCE ON THE 

taint and where there is freedom for the enlightened Christian 
conscience to apply principles of Christian duty in the fear of 
the Lord, compelled by neither arbitrary definition nor commonly 
received opinion often equally tyrannical. 

(3) Our American Methodism has experienced the pressure 
that political environment may bring to bear in the efforts of 
the church to exercise moral discipline; experience that has left 
the line of cleavage which now divides us, but of which fortu- 
nately there now remains no shadow. 

(4) New conditions arise that must be faced. American 
Methodism came into being at a time when Protestantism had 
not been fully emancipated from the pre-Beformation doctrine 
of ecclesiastical authority. Now authority in the church is dis- 
credited; but the very recent years have brought about a fresh 
appreciation of the spiritual power of the church and the neces- 
sity for her organization if moral values are to be conserved. If 
the claim to binding and loosing can no longer be made or 
admitted as validating canon law, save in the strangely surviving 
mediaeval system of Rome, the world is more than ever responsive 
to the moral appeal of the church, which binds and looses by 
the righteous standards she raises and exemplifies and to which 
the world renders homage. Wesley's century saw only the begin- 
ning of industrialism and the emergence of the modern city. 
These have become the dominant factors in the social and eco- 
nomic life of our day, creating many complex questions that our 
fathers were not confronted with. Materialism and the growth 
of wealth have gone hand in hand. Wesley saw the bane. If 
he mentions other forms of commonly practiced wrong once, he 
mentions the sin of hoarding a score of times. Modern politics 
has presented new subjects to the Christian conscience. More- 
over, and above all, there has come into being a widely diffused 
corporate moral consciousness that does not hesitate to pro- 
nounce judgment upon the church herself. This is the church's 
own creation; it is the atmosphere she has generated and which 
will prove fatal to herself unless she continues to lift high the 
ideal Life of her Lord and show by her works that she has a 



TJttlOK OE AMERICAN METHODISM 203 

citizenship which is in heaven. The church has never been able 
to fulfill her mission unless she was leading the world in moral 
conceptions and self-giving service. She must do this under 
conditions that make greater demands than ever before just 
because of the height to which she has lifted social and moral 
ideals among men. 

It is under these conditions that the church confronts her 
original task of shining as a light in the world, exalting by 
holy living her risen Lord, demonstrating the transforming 
power of her gospel, and in every department of life diffusing 
the ideal of holiness through the informing power of the risen 
Christ. More than ever the church is in the world; but more 
than ever she is liable to be spurned by the world if she is of 
the world. She is less easily distinguished from the world 
because the world, at least in idea, has slowly risen toward 
her standards. The reunion of the separate members of the 
largest Protestant family in America cannot fail to become the 
means of most impressively setting forth the ideal of the life 
of Christ in the life of the many thousands of churches and the 
many millions of Christians who have as their norm of discipline 
the Rules of the United Societies and who have ever been dis- 
tinguished for their fidelity to the basic principle of separateness 
from the world. 



V04 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



THE PROBLEM : CHURCH DISCIPLINE 

J. Albert Johnson, D.D. 

(a) In what respect the discipline of the various Methodist 
bodies differs: (b) what are the most serious differences? (c) 
and how they might be reconciled. 

For the purposes of this paper, discipline contemplates con- 
duct, amusements, and the use of tobacco. 

There is practical agreement in the Methodist churches in 
the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada on 
certain forms of discipline. All branches of Methodism incor- 
porate in the General Rules the section : 

It is therefore expected of all who continue therein that they 
shall continue to evidence their desire of salvation, 

First: By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, espe- 
cially that which is most generally practiced; such as, 

The taking of the name of God in vain. 

The profaning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary work 
therein or by buying or selling. 

Drunkenness, buying or selling spirituous liquors, or drinking 
them, unless in cases of extreme necessity. 

Slaveholding; buying or selling slaves. 1 

Fighting, quarreling, brawling, brother going to law with brother; 
returning evil for evil, or railing for railing; the using of many 
words in buying or selling. 

The buying or selling goods that have not paid the duty. 

The giving or taking of things on usury — that is, unlawful interest. 

Uncharitable or unprofitable conversation; particularly speaking 
evil of Magistrates or Ministers. 

Doing to others as we would not they should do unto us. 

Doing what we know is not for the glory of God, as: 
The putting on of gold and costly apparel. 

The taking such diversions as cannot be used in the name of 
the Lord Jesus. 



1 This sentence does not appear in two Disciplines. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 205 

The singing those songs, or reading those books, which do not 

tend to the knowledge or love of God. 
Softness and needless self-indulgence. 
Laying up treasures upon earth. 
Borrowing without a probability of paying; or taking up goods 

without a probability of paying for them. 

The question of amusements and social life has always been 
more or less a problem in the Methodist Church. It was never 
more so than at present. Worldliness with its insidious snares 
approaches the daily life from so many angles. Therefore, there 
has never been a period in the history of the church when the 
Christ-like life was more needed than now, and ought to be 
insisted upon. 

It is peculiarly enheartening to read the following in the Dis- 
cipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church (page 56, f 68) : 
"Improper amusements and excessive indulgence in innocent 
amusements are serious barriers to the beginning of the religious 
life and fruitful causes of spiritual decline. Some amusements 
in common use are positively demoralizing and furnish the first 
easy steps to the total loss of character. We therefore look with 
deep concern on the great increase of amusements and on the 
general prevalence of harmful amusements, and lift up a solemn 
note of warning and entreaty particularly against theater-going, 
dancing, and such games of chance as are frequently associated 
with gambling; all of which have been found to be antagonistic 
to vital piety, promotive of worldliness, and especially pernicious 
to youth. We affectionately admonish all our people to make 
their amusements the subject of careful thought and frequent 
prayer, to study the subject of amusements in the light of their 
tendencies, and to be scrupulously careful in this matter to set no 
injurious example." 

x From the Book of Discipline of the Methodist Protestant 
Church (page 46, K 1 ) : "Uncharitable or unprofitable conversa- 
tion, or indulgence in those worldly amusements which do not 
tend to the glory of God, and which cannot be used in the name 
of the Lord Jesus — such as card-playing, dancing, games of 



•20G A WOHKINU CONFEKENCE ON THE 

chance, and attending circuses and theatrical performances 
(and the use of tobacco)." 

And the following from the Book of Discipline of the African 
Methodist Episcopal Church (page 246, ^f 6) : "Whenever a 
member shows disobedience to the order and discipline of the 
church, or neglects duties of any kind ; or indulges in imprudent 
conduct, sinful tempers, words or quarrels ; or in speaking evil 
of Ministers; or in dealing in lotteries or policies, attending 
dances or horse races, or engages in playing cards or in the pur- 
suit of such other games or diversions as cannot be carried on 
in the name of our Lord Jesus, let private reproof be given by 
a leader, or the Preacher in charge. If the member on being 
reproved acknowledge the truth and show proper humiliation 
he may remain on trial. On the third offense the case must be 
brought before the society, or a select number of it, and then the 
offender must be cut off if there be no real humiliation." 

These three specific utterances are perhaps the most outspoken 
words on certain modern forms of harmful or questionable 
amusements given in the Book of Discipline of the Methodist 
Church on the American Continent. 

Discipline as applied to candidates for and members of the 
ministry differs materially in reference to "the use of tobacco." 
In the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, under the caption 
"Admitting Preachers on Trial" (page 62, ^f 148, Ans. 4), "The 
Committee on Admission shall require all applicants for admis- 
sion on trial to agree to abstain from the use of tobacco." 

The Methodist Church of Canada in its Book of Discipline 
(page 96, ^f 157), says: "Do you take snuff, tobacco, or intoxi- 
cating drinks? A distinct answer in the negative shall be 
required in every case as a condition of continuing on probation 
from year to year." 

The Methodist Episcopal Church demands an emphatic affirm- 
ative answer to the interrogation, "Will you wholly abstain from 
the use of tobacco?" (See page 119, ^ 154, § 1—2.) 

The Methodist Protestant Church says: "Candidates for the 
itinerancy shall be required to answer affirmatively the follow- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 207 

ing question: "Will you abstain from the use of tobacco?" 

(Page 60, TH.) 

The other Methodist churches in America do not include the 
question of "the use of tobacco" in their discipline for the candi- 
dates for members of their ministry, with any prohibition. This 
is a very serious difference, if not a defect. In the event of 
union, it would of necessity require to be harmonized. One way 
to reconcile the differing attitudes on the "use of tobacco" would 
be to have each General Conference (that has not done so) 
seriously consider the subject with a view to prohibiting its use 
by candidates for and members of its ministry. 

Evidently, that which caused the Methodist Connexion to 
divide into various denominations, or branches, was, that certain 
views were held by individuals which were not shared by the 
majority. The number holding the said views increased, until 
it was thought advisable to form a separate communion. It was 
but charitable to conclude that in every case those who estab- 
lished the new centers held what they consider advanced views 
concerning doctrine, discipline, or personal liberty. 

As the years passed, experience has given all a chance to 
modify their views on non-essentials, and become more progres- 
sive on what may be accepted by all as essentials. And so the 
coming together again may afford the opportunity for each divi- 
sion to contribute something of real value to the church united. 
But this can be done only by the utmost charity being used con- 
cerning mere personal preferences, on the one hand, and a 
determination on the other hand to make no compromise upon 
any subject that will compromise doctrines proclaimed by Jesus 
Christ and his holy apostles. 



208 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



THE PROBLEM : CHURCH DISCIPLINE 

John W- Hamilton, D.D. 

Bkothehs: There is no word found in the English language 
of weightier judgment than discipline. It compasses the whole 
course of human life, shapes the personality, molds the character, 
and authorizes the rule of conduct of every individual. In its 
best sense it is both the science and art of ruling life with intel- 
ligence and righteousness. It begins with the earliest apprehen- 
sion and never ends. It is both subjective and objective. When 
subjective it is obedience to law: "No man is altogether above 
the restraints of law." The sooner he learns this fact, the sooner 
he puts himself in harmony with his environment. No man 
dare follow his own bent without restraint; he must control 
himself in his own best interests : "to follow mere naked instinct 
does not beseem a man." 

Reason raise o'er instinct as you can; 
In this 'tis God directs; in that 'tis man. 

The reasonable man can make all law disciplinary. He can 
find discipline in the afflictions or wrong he encounters. The 
evils, pain, sickness, and losses, sorrows, dangers and disappoint- 
ments to him are disciplinary and remedial. 

Objective discipline is altruistic and altruism "embraces those 
moral motives which induce a man to regard the interests of 
others." What is good for the one man is good for all men. And 
all men should regard in their own interests the interests of the 
one man. Discipline becomes, then, a corporate judgment and 
as such is like the reason of the one man. It must be guided 
with intelligence and directed in righteousness. 

I have now stated the principles which underlie all intelligent 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 209 

and righteous discipline. You have asked me to apply these 
principles to church discipline. If the church were a mere 
arbitrary arrangement or human appointment, I should find 
this a most difficult, if not impossible task. But the church 
should be and is the normal fellowship of the saints; it is the 
communion in winch righteousness obtains and all its require- 
ments should be just. But its history is the history of the vis- 
ible church as well as the invisible. When the former is dis- 
joined from the latter, it takes with it a vacant edifice, where 
there are likely to be more moles and bats than worship. Dis- 
cipline in such a place is likely to be the fighting of ghosts, or 
fighting as one that beateth the air. An empty church or one 
nearly empty, which is most likely to be a backslidden church, is 
no place for discipline, and yet it must be conceded it is the 
church in which there is commonly most discipline — discipline 
in the ordinary church sense. The definition of ecclesiastical 
discipline found in the dictionaries is taken from that kind of 
a church. Webster, in his New International Dictionary, where 
we would expect to find a more up-to-date, less narrow and more 
spiritual definition, says discipline in the church "is the enforce- 
ment of methods of correction against one guilty of ecclesiastical 
offenses." But he simply defines it as the world and much of 
the church have long understood it. As if with second thought 
he adds, "Reformatory or penal action toward a church member." 
But it is the penal notion that dominates the definition. That 
would do for the Middle Ages, when the history of the church 
was the history of the Inquisition, but it is not so much as half 
the meaning of the New Testament definition. Paul said, 
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spirit- 
ual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering 
thyself lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's bur- 
dens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." 

The aim and employment of the Christian discipline, then, is 
to restore the one who must be disciplined and not to "forewaste 
all his good," expel, explode and exterminate him as "if he were 
a rank atheist." The process of the New Testament discipline 



210 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

is not a military one. Worldly discipline is bad enough. Those 
of us who remember any of our Latin may recall that Sallust 
said: "All men who consult on doubtful matters should be void 
of hatred, friendship, anger, and pity." But to deal with an 
offender in the church in the Christian spirit is to humble one's 
self quite as much as the offender. The process would be quite 
a cumbersome one to the church or member who is not spiritually 
minded : "If thy brother shall trespass, go and tell him his fault 
between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou hast 
gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take OTie 
or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every 
word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, 
tell it to the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let 
him be unto thee as an heathen and a publican." It is then only 
the spiritually minded who should administer the discipline — 
"Ye which are spiritual." Besides, it takes ten pounds of com- 
mon sense to carry one pound of discipline. 

Is it because the church has "found the law dear that it has 
left it cheap"? Has not punitive discipline well nigh disap- 
peared from the church ? And does the offender any longer 
"dread the blow from a punitive hand" ? Have we not come 
on the times when mere force in government and the spirit of 
force are losing their efficacy? Were they not a "noxious 
efficacy at best? It does not follow that we have less law and 
less obedience to law in the church because we have less punish- 
ment. Is it not rather that law so long joined to force has been 
losing respect and becoming "poor in worth," in the courts, with 
the magistrates as well as the offenders? 

We arc the most criminal nation on the face of the earth. 
From 1885 to October 1, 1015, the number of lynchings in this 
country was 3,583, and the number was greater last year than 
for each of several years. The average number of murders in 
the United States annually during the twenty years from 
1885 to 1004 was 6,500. In 1805 the number was 10,500; in 
1806 it was 10,662, nearly 30 a day. The nearest approach to 
these figures in any other nation is in Italy, where the homicides 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 211 

were 3,606, or about one third to one half of the number in this 
country. But it is scarcely a question whether many of the 
judges are not as grave offenders as the criminals, and in many 
instances the assizes themselves become nothing more than a 
histrionic trial of wits. The conviction of criminals in Germany 
is nearly 84 per cent of the crimes they have committed : in Italy 
nearly 78 per cent; in Spain nearly 69 per cent; in England 
nearly 48 per cent ; while in the United States they are less than 
2 per cent. With capital punishment the penalty in 45 States 
and Territories, and the legal authorities all sworn to execute the 
laws, there was less than 1 per cent of legal executions in 1911. 
A recent authority in the study of the "Present Day Problem 
of Crime" says : "The old-time respect for law seems to be mostly 
gone. It has become a bogy, at which the ill-disposed laugh in 
derision, unafraid and boldly defying it as impotent to do them 
harm. The reasons for this are because, as Judge Holt says, 
under our present system of administering criminal law, the 
punishment of criminals is a sort of lottery, uncertain, disap- 
pointing; very few of the guilty get any; most of them draw a 
blank, or, as President Taft says, with no ambiguity, because of 
the failure of the law and its administrators to bring criminals 
to justice!" It is in the air for the lawyers to trifle with the 
law. Shall we then give to ecclesiastical discipline no other 
definition than that of "Enforcement of methods of correction 
against one guilty of ecclesiastical offenses"? If I had the sta- 
tistics of such enforcement or the neglect of it in any or all of 
the churches before me, "my confusion," as the Psalmist has 
said, "would be continually before me, and the shame of the 
law would cover me." Some one has said, "It is inconceivable 
how much wit it requires to avoid being ridiculous." My wit 
would not suffice in this instance. 

We all know "the usual and accepted method of repressing 
crime is by the penalties of violated law: in the civil courts, 
fines, imprisonment, and other punitive methods," with the so 
called "reformatory discipline of various kinds given in prison" ; 
in ecclesiastical courts, rebuke, suspension, and expulsion. 



212 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

But if, as we have seen, this method is a failure, is there not some 
form of new penology that can be employed which will vindicate 
itself better than the old has done? Did "a savage and brutal 
punishment ever deter men from crime"? In the old days 
poachers were hung for stealing rabbits, but the numerous pro- 
geny of the Belgian hare could not supply the surreptitious 
demand which went right on. 

We must find some new definition, therefore, for all discipline, 
certainly for ecclesiastical discipline, or make sane use of the 
other much neglected definitions. Webster's first definition, if 
it were only the ecclesiastical one, would work infinitely better. 
He says discipline is "the treatment suited to a disciple or 
learner, education, training, whether physical, mental, or moral." 
Just as Bacon says, "Wife and children are a kind of discipline 
of humanity." Why should not such definition fit ecclesiastical 
discipline, better than what Addison called "the discipline of 
the strap"? Did not Wendell Phillips say, "Education is the 
only interest worthy the deep, controlling anxiety of the thought- 
ful man" ? And have I not said Paul advised if a man be over- 
taken in a fault restore — restore such an one, not expel him, and 
without much reference to the law restore by the spiritual 
method, in a spirit of meekness? Milton speaks of 

Subverting worldly strong and worldly wise, 
By simply meek. 

If we could convince persons that "the entire object of true 
education is to make people not merely do the right things, but 
enjoy the right things," it would not be difficult to restore and 
reclaim the slightly wayward, or a hopeless task to recover the 
apostate. The method is worth trying. 

The church, like the court, has most of its trouble from 
worldly pleasure. Its momentary gratification so absorbs the 
entire being of the pleasure-seeker that his better nature is 
utterly bewildered or beheaded and he moves only at the twitch- 
ing of what is Jeft of him. As long ago as when Rome was 
beastly with its pleasure, Cicero was sagacious enough to say. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 213 

"When pleasure prevails all the greatest virtue lies dormant." 
In that condition of obliviousness of mind and character, pun- 
ishment is not a reformatory or remedial measure: it can only 
serve as a legal execution. John the Baptist could do nothing 
with his head off. The beasts can guide themselves by instinct, 
but man guided only in this way becomes a beast. I know 
"instinct is a great matter," but Shakespeare said, "I was a 
coward on instinct," and cowardice is an animal weakness. God 
said, "Let us make man in our image after our likeness; and 
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the 
fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing 
that creepeth upon the earth." God thus lifted him out and 
above and over the animal world, and gave him mastery, cour- 
age, and companionship with himself. "God will not manifest 
himself to cowards." Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of 
God are unmanned and they must be re-manned to overcome the 
beast that is uppermost in them. Punishment cannot do this. 
"Pleasure is more powerful that the fear of penalty." The 
man must be gotten out from under the tyranny of the tyrant 
into the mastery of himself. If his under nature has beheaded 
him, he must be re-headed. There is one miracle-worker alone 
that can do this, and that is the man's reason — that something 
which distinguishes him from the whole underworld. "Heason 
should direct and appetite obey," and "reason gains all men by 
compelling none." "Men that will not be reasoned into their 
senses" are lost. Discipline even then should be reformation. 

But still a better definition than reformation is prevention. 
I have read somewhere that Goldsmith said, "The greatest object 
in the universe, says a certain philosopher, is a good man strug- 
gling with adversity. Yet there is a still greater, which is the 
good man that comes to relieve it." Now, the greatest relief 
from adversity, misfortune, sin, is the prevention of them. 
"Laws act after crimes have been committed, prevention before 
them both." 

The Christian church is only another synonym for prevention. 
It is the only intervention man has which sends up hourly 



214 A WOUKINC CONFERENCE ON THE 

prayers, and puts help on guard to avert from him the tempta- 
tions and evils of the gainsaying world. 

In assigning to me this topic I was asked to consider the atti- 
tude of the church to two questions in particular : first, as to the 
use of tobacco; second, as to popular amusements. I half sus- 
pected there was a suspicion, or at least a surmise, that there 
was such an attitude to these practices in the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church as to hinder the organic union with the several 
branches of American Methodists and most probably with the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South. But as there was no deli- 
cacy intimated in the assignment to me of these questions, there 
need be none in the frank discussion of them — discussion of the 
discipline by the church of the intemperate who are given to 
dissipation in the use of tobacco and the wrong and over-indul- 
gence in popular amusements. 

I must insist, to begin with, as I have said before and now 
repeat, the duty of the Christian church, and therefore of both 
the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, is to administer the discipline according to the 
rule of the New Testament, and not only discipline thus those 
who are beginning to acquire the habit, but those who have gone 
to the limit of excess. 

It may be by voluntary prevention, loving repression, or Chris- 
tian reformation, but in every instance it shall be iirst to restore 
such an one in the spirit of meekness. The churches shall seek 
then for a a sound conscience which is a wall of brass." The 
Germans have a proverb, that a "good conscience is a soft 
pillow." They may have "to educate the intelligence so as to 
enlarge the horizon of its desires and wants." The case as to 
the use of tobacco very probably will be against them at the 
start, but conjecturally no more in the South than all over the 
North. Tobacco is not only indigenous to the Western Hemi- 
sphere, but more of it is grown here and sold here than anywhere 
else over the earth. And Kentucky, North Carolina, and Vir- 
ginia grow two thirds of all that is produced on the continent. 
During the fiscal year ending June 1, 1915, taxes, and they are 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 215 

never in excess of the values, were paid on enough cigars to give 
every man, woman, and child in the country more than 80 
apiece; enough cigarettes to give them each more than 167; 
enough chewing and smoking tobacco to give them each more 
than 4 pounds, and enough snuff for more than a third of a 
pound apiece. It would seem from these figures that "to fore- 
swear the weed" would require the discipline of every com- 
municant and adherent of all the churches and the preachers 
and bishops as well. But the pure-food laws have served to 
"educate the intelligence," until some startling consequences 
have been found to follow the use of the narcotic which is alarm- 
ing to the many persons who prefer intelligence to ignorance. 
The result in the study of the retardation of pupils in all the 
grades of the schools and in the high schools reveals three things : 

"First: Smokers are distinctly older than non-smokers, hav- 
ing failed in their work much more frequently. 

"Second: Smokers are doing distinctly poorer work than 
non-smokers. 

"Third: Smokers are disciplined much more frequently for 
more serious offenses than non-smokers." 

In the New York schools 200 boys from 10 to 17 years old 
who smoked cigarettes were compared with an equal number who 
did not, with the result that 14 times as many smokers as non- 
smokers were nervous; 13 times as many had impaired hearing; 
12 times as many had poor memories; 8 times as many bad 
memories; 13 times as many low deportment; 6 times as many 
poor physical condition ; 14 times as many bad moral condition ; 
18 times as many bad mental conditions; and 39 times as many 
failed of promotion. 

The Superintendent of the Schools in Maiden, Massachusetts, 
with the aid of the teachers, recently obtained the similar con- 
clusion that "a close connection exists between low mentality, 
physical weakness, moral delinquency, and cigarette smoking." 

The former Superintendent of the Illinois State Reformatory 
states that "of the 278 boys between the ages of 10 and 15 in 
that institution, 92 per cent were in the habit of smoking cigar- 



216 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

ettes when they were committed and 85 per cent were classed 
as cigarette fiends." 

The former President of the Paris Medical Academy said, 
"Tobacco is the most subtle poison known to chemists except 
the deadly prussic acid." 

More reputable physicians can be quoted against the deleteri- 
ous effects of tobacco than of alcohol. Scores of authorities 
affirm that "A tobacco user's chances of recovery from malignant 
diseases are lessened 50 per cent." 

A recent careful student of the subject, a professor in one of 
the well-known universities, and a writer of some prominence, 
declares in one of his essays that "in running through a large 
amount of literature from various sources of special study, not 
a single article has been found written in the last 25 years that 
does not condemn tobacco to a greater or less degree." 

Such intelligence, presented with persuasion, in a spirit of 
meekness, is discipline fitted to restore and not destroy. 

A half dozen bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, have written to me to say, "We have practically the 
same rule on the use of tobacco that your church has. Our latest 
General Conference made the non-use of tobacco a test of admis- 
sion into the traveling connection. It has not deterred the 
proper type of young manhood from offering for the ministry: 
it will raise the standard." 

The same discipline can be applied to persons given to the 
wrong or over-indulgence in popular amusements. Neither the 
church nor the world lias yet been able to hit upon a satisfactory 
definition of amusement. But rigidly to exclude all amusement 
from the privileges of the church members in these days would 
be unintelligible "and doth impeach the freedom" of the con- 
science as much as to send committees round to the homes of all 
the members of the church to destroy their mirrors, in order to 
cure their pride. Amusement is a necessity of the nature. The 
church has lived through the whole gamut of amusement, the 
seven hexachords and all — from no amusement whatever to 
downright worldliness. There were no amusements — none 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 217 

worthy of the name — in either the church or the world a century 
or two ago. Sinners thought the church believed the world was 
a prison, and they were sure the church was the jailer. Macaulay, 
in some one of his biographies, gives his definition of a great 
man's conception of entertainment in his time when he said, "his 
favorite amusements were architecture and gardening." The 
world was all work and worry and no play. In the church there 
was no relaxation or recreation ; amid the solemnities a smile was 
a vice and laughter a crime. The sensible man came to be afraid 
of both the world and the church. The "good people" were very 
largely responsible for these misapprehensions. Their creed 
made of God a veritable Minotaur and of the world a mysterious 
labyrinth in which he devoured young men and maidens. Both 
the world and many of the church have now rushed to the other 
extreme. The world has made of pleasure a business, and many 
of the churches have put it in the place of their worship. But 
there is no confidence, after all, in its lasting satisfaction; it 
glitters, but it is not gold. "The world," said Carlyle, "is an 
old woman that mistakes any gilt farthing for a gold coin: 
whereby being often cheated she will henceforth trust nothing 
but the common copper." And it is yet firmly in the faith of the 
church that "if any man love the world, the love of the Father 
is not in him." It may be that the way of the church, like that 
of the world, all too often "is to make laws but to follow cus- 
toms." Nevertheless, the discipline, soon or late, returns the 
derelicts to their moorings. As the whirlwind passeth, so is the 
wicked no more, but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. 
The discipline of the old penology may change its fashion, but 
never the New Testament discipline its purpose or power. For 
the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all 
men, teaching us that "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we 
should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world ; 
looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearance of 
the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself 
for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify 
unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." 



218 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

If the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, has not left in its Book of Discipline the catalogue of all 
those things which we ought not to do — many of which we have 
in ours, but to complete the list would so fill our Book of Dis- 
cipline there would be no room for anything else — the senior 
bishop stoutly affirms that the members of this church are not 
more given to amusements than before the action was taken, and 
that there is as determined an attitude against worldliness in 
their Discipline as in ours. The General Conference of that 
church ordered the bishops to place in the Discipline the teach- 
ing of the church on worldliness. And in the very front of the 
book it is taught in these unmistakable terms, that "The one 
law of the church is to avoid what we know is not for the glory 
of God. This forbids the taking such diversions as cannot be 
used in the name of Christ, the singing of those songs or read- 
ing those books which do not tend to the knowledge of love of 
God and those forms of needless self-indulgence that unfit the 
believer for communion with God or for faithful and effective 
service for man." 

There is then certainly no such difference of judgment in these 
two churches, in these particulars, that we should be so "pleased 
with a rattle, tickled with a straw," as to hinder the freest fel- 
lowship and closest union. "But," as one of the bishops of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has written rne, "should 
there be the widest difference, I cannot understand how two great 
churches could, under any circumstances, allow such questions 
as these alone considered to play any part in the matter of reor- 
ganization and union." 

Brothers, if we are Christian and Wesleyan Methodists, hav- 
ing one country, will we not with all our real and imaginary 
differences join in the prayer of our father and founder, that we 
shall be "one church throughout: united together under one 
uniform administration of government, one discipline, one sys- 
tem of doctrine, one spirit in their ministry, one fellowship and 
spirit in their membership, and one general mode of promot- 
ing revivals of religion"? 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 219 

These are they whose hearts were riven 
Sore with woe and anguish tried, 
Who in prayer full oft have striven, 
With the God they glorified; 
Now, their painful conflict o'er, 
God has bid them war no more. 



THE PROBLEM: THE NEGRO 

ROBERT E. JONES, D.D., 

Editor of the Southwestern Christian Advocate, New Orleans, 

Louisiana 

HENRY N. SNYDER, D.D., 
President of Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina 

WILBUR P. THIRKIELD, D.D., 
Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church 

L. J. COPPIN, D.D., 
Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church 



THE PEOBLEM: THE NEGKO 

Eobekt E. Jones, D.D. 

No one deprecates the existence of sectional and race lines in 
our common Methodism more than the Negro, and no class of 
the Methodist host is more anxious for the obliteration of these 
lines than the Negro himself, who has been largely responsible, 
although involuntarily so, for sectional feelings and sectional 
lines between the North and the South, and for this reason the 
Negro is willing to go one better any organization or group of 
men making an effort for the reuniting of Methodism. The 
Negro has all to gain and nothing to lose in the abolishing of 
sectional lines and in the uprooting of sectional feeling. Just 
as he profited by the doctrine, "One and inseparable, now and 
forever," so will he profit by the reconciliation of the once antag- 
onistic and inharmonious forces in our common Methodism. 

It seems to me that in a dispassionate discussion of this ques- 
tion we should keep before us certain fundamentals. First of 
all, let us be frank in recognizing the Negro as a factor to be 
considered in the question of organic union of Methodism. 
Some say his presence is the paramount question. If his presence 
in the life of this nation and the world, and incidentally in the 
life of Methodism, is a vexation and a problem, do not blame 
him; blame the Almighty. The Negro is God-made, and God 
never made a mistake and the Negro did not happen, like 
Topsy, who "just growed," but he is in this world by the same 
loving, wise, far-seeing Divine Providence as the most favored 
peoples of the earth. Parenthetically we might add, in God's 
own time there will be a full vindication of the why and the 
wherefore of the making of the Negro that will be satisfactory 
to all concerned. 

The essence of Christianity is the Fatherhood of God, if the 

Fatherhood of God, then Sonship — not only the Sonship of Jesus 

223 



224 A W0EK1NG CONFERENCE ON THE 

Christ, the elder brother, but the sonship of all believers. If 
sonship, then brotherhood. We could say with equal force that 
brotherhood is the essence of Christianity, for the Fatherhood 
of God and the brotherhood of man are inseparable. The world 
is actually crying, dying, for a real brotherhood, free from cant 
and prejudice, a brotherhood projected upon the program of 
the Master and in accord with his spirit. The Negro has a 
divine right in the brotherhood of Christian believers. 

We should keep in mind also that the church is not a "social" 
institution in the sense that we ordinarily use the word "social." 
The church is socialistic, but not necessarily sociable. If I may 
make this distinction between "social" and "sociable," I think we 
can steer clear of considerable trouble. 

To illustrate, the Methodist Episcopal Church has been doing 
work among the colored people in the South. The men and 
women who have gone South have entered into a most brotherly 
and friendly relation with our people, preaching the truth, 
teaching the ignorant, advising in many ways, and they have also 
eaten and slept in our cabins. We do not know of a single 
marriage that has grown out of this relation, but we do know 
of thousands of persons who have been helped. Now this is a 
socialistic program which is not at all sociable. 

I want to assert further that any church that is worth the 
name must be as universal as Christ and as comprehensive as 
his invitation to salvation. The church built upon race lines, 
whether white or black, of its own choice, is a reflection upon 
the Great Head of the Church. Admitting that there were 
certain social conditions in the past that from a human stand- 
point justified churches built upon race lines, present-day indi- 
cations are that that day is passing, if not indeed already passed 
and gone. 

John R. Mott, in an address before the Atlanta Student Con- 
ference on "The Present World Situation," called attention to 
the unprecedented dangers which the world faced, in race rela- 
tionships — dangers due to the shrinkage of the world by im- 
proved means of communication, the multiplication of friction 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 225 

points between races and peoples on account of more intimate 
association, a marked relaxation and weakening of the sanctions 
and restraints of social customs and the ethical and religious 
systems of non- Christian people, a demoralization which takes 
place when two or more races are brought in contact with each 
other without the restraining and transforming influence of a 
greater than human power. He further said that there was 
danger of a growing consolidation of non- Christian people 
against ideals and purposes which are most distinctive to the 
Christian religion. Then this student of the world's conditions, 
and modern apostle of evangelism, asked this question: "What 
is the secret of counteracting and overcoming these momentous 
perils ?" We give his reply in his own words : "Some still appeal 
for a policy of segregation. They insist that the only hope of 
averting these alarming dangers is by separating the races from 
each other. Even though such a course might have been prac- 
ticable in other days, it is so no longer. It may be possible for 
countries like America, Canada, and Australia to exclude 
orientals from their borders, but it is not possible in this day of 
industrial and commercial expansion to keep the aggressive 
young men of Europe and America out of Asia and Africa. 
Moreover, the countless international contacts which have been 
established in recent years manifest the absolute futility of any 
attempt in this day to keep nations and peoples in water-tight 
compartments. Others argue in favor of amalgamation as a 
means of diminishing the dangers which so threaten the world. 
History as well as present-day experience in certain parts of the 
world shows that such a course would follow the line of least 
resistance and is inevitably attended with results of the most 
serious character." Then Mr. Mott pertinently asks: "What 
then will afford a helpful environment and insure right feelings 
and relationships between nations and races?" He answers: 
"The only program which can meet all the alarming facts of the 
situation is the world-wide spread of Christianity in its purest 
form." 

We assert, therefore, that the union of Methodism as well as 



226 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the union of all churches should be a union upon bases of the 
purest Christianity without regard to race or sectional lines. 
We admit such union will be a slow process. So far as I know, 
this is the first attempt in the history of the movement for 
organic union to have the two races come together in this frank 
way. Such a gathering is more fundamental to the success of 
the movement for union than any commission on federation 
that exists. 

The Christian Advocate, of New York, in its last week's issue, 
said that the information and opinion which will be concentrated 
upon the subject of organic union at this meeting will con- 
stitute the largest single contribution that has yet been made 
toward a proper understanding of the matter, and one of the 
most important factors contributing to the success of the meet- 
ing is that the Negro is being consulted as to what he desires 
in the readjustment that is to take place. There is enough 
common sense, mutual respect, and mutual consideration suffi- 
cient, and above all enough of the Spirit of our common Lord, 
among the men who are here to construct ultimately a program 
that would be satisfactory to all and which would respect in a 
large measure the predilections and "sociable" customs of all so 
that we shall finally have a union that will be a mighty forward 
movement for the kingdom of Jesus Christ, a union not of one 
race, but a union along the line of the Joint Commission on the 
Federation of Colored Methodist Churches, which declared that 
"we approach all branches of Methodism alike on the subject 
of organic union/' 

The world is watching America and American Methodism. To 
quote the words of the late Booker T. Washington, that master 
of his time in race relationship : "The whole world is looking to 
the United States to set the example in the solution of racial 
problems so far as concerns the relationship between black man 
and white man. There is scarcely a country in Europe that in 
some way is not concerned with the destiny of blnck, brown, or 
yellow people. This is especially true regarding black races in 
Africa. These European countries are studying our policy 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 227 

toward black people in the United States, and what is done here 
in a very large degree is likely to influence the treatment of 
our race throughout the world." 

William Pickens also has very strikingly put this question 
although from another angle : "The best test of American Chris- 
tianity is not whether we can send the most missionaries, count 
the most converts and spend the most money in India, China, 
and Japan or even Africa, but what can we do and what are we 
doing for ten million Negroes in America. It is not whether 
we can preach brotherhood to all the world, but whether we can 
practice brotherhood in our neighborhood. 

"With neither hope nor intention of detracting from the glory 
and goodness of foreign missionary work, we say that the spirit 
of the Founder of Christianity is opposed to a sentiment which 
makes it easier to practice Christian brotherhood through the 
collection box, the mails, and the missionary magazines than to 
practice the same across the street and over a neighbor's fence. 
The meek but fearless Jesus of Nazareth would have called such 
inconsistency the ne plus ultra of Pharisaism." 

I was in the presence of an educated Negro one day this winter 
when he had been reading for his morning devotions the words 
of the Master : "that we all might be one." This man is a con- 
servative by nature and practice. His intimate friends think 
him an ultra-conservative, and when he had finished reading, 
with a sigh of despondency he said, "I wonder if our white 
friends really believe this passage of Scripture." 

We must interpret our Christianity so that the darker races 
will believe in brotherhood taught by our Christianity. As 
these darker races awaken they will, necessarily, compare what 
we preach with what we practice. 

Now let me state the program that I would advance for the 
believers of Jesus Christ who pattern their lives after the 
example of John Wesley. As I state this position, Peter's vision 
on the house-top is mine as well, not by choice but irresistibly 
so, and that vision is reenforced and amplified by the teachings 
of the life of the Master and by that marvelous prayer that they 



228 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

all may be one. I cannot get away from the fact that if we pro- 
fess to be Christians there is a oneness that should obtain, and 
whenever there are divisions, groups, sections, and segments 
there is just so much of misrepresentation of true Christianity. 
There ought to be, therefore, one great Methodist Church as 
wide as the world and as universal as human kind, that should 
conserve the spiritual power, the dynamic force, the imperial 
theology, and the practical program of John Wesley. There 
should be one fold. I believe this program can be worked out 
with entire satisfaction to all concerned. 

There would be disadvantages and advantages both to the 
whites and the Negroes in this oneness of church relation, but 
the disadvantages would be slight to either as compared with 
the advantages. There would be advantages and disadvantages 
to the whites and to the Negroes should we maintain separate 
organizations, but the disadvantages would far outweigh the 
advantages. 

First of all, the union of all Methodist forces would be an 
advantage to the white man. He is to-day the world's master; 
he is the custodian of the large program for the evangelization 
of the world. In fact, if not in theory, he has in a large mea- 
sure apostolic leadership; he must be big enough to not belie 
the spirit and purpose of our common Master. The largest 
world to-day is not Anglo-Saxon, it is otherwise. There are 
many millions more of colored people than there are white people, 
and the world is looking toward this country for proper solution 
of the question of their treatment. The white man, therefore, 
must look to his leadership. 

If the church is to have a world-wide program, it must be big 
enough to include all men in the brotherhood or else, as the 
darker races come to race consciousness, they will resent discrim- 
inations. It is this brotherhood fellowship of the Mohammedans 
that gives this pagan religion such a grip upon the natives of 
Africa and upon other races. We cannot consistently do mis- 
sionary work in Africa if we withdraw from work among Negroes 
at home. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 229 

The Methodist Episcopal Church cannot turn out its Negro 
members without doing violence to its best traditions. There 
never was a time when the Negro was not in the church in as 
large or larger ratio than he is to-day and the brightest chapter 
in American missions is the chapter that tells the story of the 
upward path of the Negro. Certainly no church can hope to do 
its more effective work among a people by proxy. The signs of 
the time show that the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
would do more for the Negroes if they linked up its mem- 
bership and that the Methodist Episcopal Church would do less 
if the Negroes were not connected in an organic way with the 
church. And here I do not mean monetary help; there is a 
help of more concern. 

There are not only disadvantages if we separate the Negro 
which we have stated, but there are advantages to the white 
man when he comes into the closest contact with the Negro in 
his church relations. The Negro has something inherent and 
distinctly original and wholly racial to contribute to the just 
interpretation of Christianity. His fidelity, his faith, his almost 
universal belief in the personal and immanent presence of God, 
his forgiving spirit, his proverbial humility, his power of song, 
his emotion add greatly to present Christianity. 

I think I could clearly show that the Negro's faith in God, 
which is a part of his being, is wholesome for any church. His 
forgiving spirit is not a species of racial subserviency but a real 
strength of character which if prevalent in the dominant races 
of the world to-day would give us an entirely different world 
situation. 

We must be fair enough to recognize that there is an advantage 
to Negroes in separate churches. Such organizations give a 
larger opportunity for initiative, for development of leadership, 
and for self-support. Our brethren in the distinctive colored 
churches have done a magnificent work in gathering numbers, 
building churches, developing educational plants, and in promot- 
ing the Christian faith. But it is paying the Negro too great 
a compliment to say with his present development he can do 



230 A WOKKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

better by himself. And there is something of a suggestion of 
inconsistency when at the same time we argue that the two 
great Methodisms need union for the promotion of the highest 
in both. The best ten million Negroes on earth are in America. 
There is but one accounting for this fact, and it is contact with 
this world's best civilization. 

There is another advantage of a white and Negro membership 
in common, to the Negro, in that it makes the church to him 
something vastly superior to a social club or an organization 
dominated by the caste spirit. He would feel that Christianity 
gives him the only shelter from proscription and segregation 
which he meets everywhere in practice and imbedded in the 
constitutions in many States. If the church draws the color 
line, then the preachers of hate and segregation will have gained 
a forceful indorsement of their propaganda which is as undemo- 
cratic, as un-American, as it is unchristian. 

Now let us consider the Negro's attitude toward the readjust- 
ment that must take place and state what he would accept with 
a reasonable regard to "sociable" conditions. The church is in 
the world, and faces an environment, and that means that we 
must face the idiosyncrasies and other notions of men. If 
criticism is to be made with regard to the movement of organic 
union up to the present it is that the Negro, who is such a 
large factor, has been discussed in his absence and tentative 
programs have been made without his consent. No program will 
stay put which he does not have a hand in making. 

For the Negro to sit quietly by would be prima-facie evidence 
that he is of no concern because he is not concerned. The 
organic union of Methodism will affect him more than any 
one thing else or all else. He is willing, therefore, to do any- 
thing that will promote the Kingdom. We will accept incon- 
veniences and limitations if by this our brethren could come 
closer together. But in self-respect he cannot voluntarily efface 
himself. If effacement comes, it must be by force from without. 

I have laid down in the beginning an ideal of a church with- 
out race lines and so long as we are working toward an ideal 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 231 

instead of from it, we do the ideal no violence. What we 
want is progress — progress as rapidly as possible but by all 
means, progress. 

Now I state in a sentence the program: The largest possible 
contact of the Negro ivith the white man with the largest pos- 
sible independence of the Negro. Both sides of the proposition 
are for the good of the Negro, contact for inspiration and for 
ideals, independence for growth and for development. The 
weak grow by doing. A man ought not to do for another what 
the other man can do for himself. A man ought not to permit 
another to do for him that which he can do for himself. The 
day is passing when the white man is to work over the Negro. 
Maybe the day is waning when the white man is to work among 
us, but the day is at sunrise when the white man is to work 
through the Negro for the uplift of the millions and this latter 
program for stimulating the ideals of civilization can be car- 
ried forward just as effectively and even more effectively than 
by former methods. 

If Christendom realizes its full opportunity to the darker races, 
it will select key men, native and indigenous to the people to 
be helped, and make them leaders. It was often alleged that 
Booker T. Washington received his credentials of leadership 
at the hands of friends outside of the race — but he used that 
leadership for the good of his own people throughout the country 
at large. In the life of this one man we have an example of what 
may be accomplished for the Negro through a proper leadership, 
that is native, but a leadership that has the confidence and the 
moral support and unselfish cooperation of all forces. 

Now, the prerogative of the church comes in with its abso- 
lute power to select. For instance, in the General Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church the selecting power on the 
part of the white membership as compared to the Negro is 
nine to one and there is no chance for Negro domination or 
intimidation or selection when the ratio remains nine to one. 

With a selection made and with absolute recall upon this 
selection, the church can work more effectively through the 



232 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

chosen men, preserve its ideals, carry forward its program, 
infuse and diffuse its spirit and at the same time more assuredly 
keep the esprit de corps of the Negro people, and thus advance 
the kingdom of Jesus Christ. 

Permit me to deal with the program more in the concrete. 
The Central Christian Advocate, in its recent issue, referring to 
the colored Conferences in the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
says: "The race cleavage in some particulars, at least, would 
scarcely be more distinct if they were in a separate body." We 
all recognize that race cleavage tempered by a sympathetic 
cooperation is not only conducive to peace and efficiency in our 
present social conditions, but necessary. It was in line with 
this idea when representative Negroes, members of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, in Nashville approved of the suggestion in 
the tentative plan for organic union which provides for juris- 
dictional conferences of equal powers and privileges, one of 
which is to be composed of affiliated Negro members. 

Let us quote : "We also rejoice in the growing movement for 
church federation and unity; the colored man has nothing to 
gain by sectionalism and we are therefore willing to treat on 
organic union upon the New Testament basis. With the light 
now before us, we approve of the plan of the Federation Com- 
mission for the reorganization of Methodism providing for 
jurisdictional or quadrennial conferences with identical powers 
and privileges, one of which is to be composed of the affiliated 
colored membership." 

You need not eliminate the Negro therefore, for already, to all 
intents and purposes, the Methodist Episcopal Church has 
an ideal program. Moreover, the Ecumenical Conference 
affords a suggestion. In the Ecumenical Conference a Negro 
chairman has introduced some of our brethren of the Church 
South and still the world has not been convulsed by it. Be it 
said to the credit of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
that the Negro can more easily address a Conference of that 
church in the far south in the interest of education than a 
Negro can address a white Conference of the Methodist Epis- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 233 

copal Church in the South. To all intents and purposes the 
Negro is as separated as anyone should desire. He has his 
separate churches, his separate Conferences and the only points 
of contact are, on the general committees and at the General 
Conference. To us who live in the South this point of contact 
does not alarm. 

Let me proceed with my concrete program. Let us maintain 
separate local churches. There is no need of mixed congrega- 
tions or society except in very rare cases. Mixed societies are 
not desired even by colored people. It is no news to our Southern 
brethren that our colored people feel freer and are more at 
home when they are by themselves. The Negro desires his own 
church, whether it is ideal or not. He enjoys his own services, 
his own preaching, his own song, his own revivals, and occasion- 
ally he enjoys a sermon by a white brother as the white brother 
would enjoy occasionally a colored brother's sermon. For a 
long time the Negro will want his local church. The local 
church is determined very largely by the connectional ideals, 
by the connectional methods, by the connectional progress, by 
the connectional pressure, and by the connectional traditions and 
here is the advantage of the closest connectional relation. 

In the second place, after we have Negro churches, maintain, 
as we have now, Negro Conferences arranged into a Negro area 
or jurisdictional districts absolutely equal in every regard to 
any other areas or districts in the church. With this done, 
amplify and make more efficient our connectional work among 
colored people by putting larger responsibility upon colored 
officers now doing field work practically for every board of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. Fix a 'general headquarters and 
let this bureau report to and be controlled by the national head- 
quarters. But let this bureau direct the work among the colored 
people. Here you have EzekiePs wheel within a wheel. This 
gives independence in response to the growth of racial con- 
sciousness on the part of the Negro and is a reasonable adjust- 
ment in harmony with social conditions. 

I have outlined a program that can embrace every white man 



234 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

from the furthermost cape of Florida to the most northern 
regions of Canada and every black man from Alabama to the 
Pacific and Northwest. Thus we will have a united and har- 
monious church that will make the world take notice. We can 
through such a force work upon the continent of Africa with 
our black regiment that shall be as large a factor for victory 
of the church as the black boys were alongside of the sons of 
the blue and gray in the great battle of San Juan. These jointly 
brought glory to our now common flag of a common country. 

Our point of contact is in the General Conference, where we 
are to be on absolutely equal footing, to vote and to be voted 
for. If a reunion of Methodism comes, and I pray God it may, 
the Negro's ratio in the General Conference will be reduced, 
but he will take his chances. From this upper chamber, we 
would each go down to our own task to which we are related 
and adapted. 

Brethren, it is only a short time before all of us must work 
this program in heaven. I am willing to begin here so as to 
get accustomed to it. 

In God's name, let reconciliation come, and may the sun of 
that day speedily reach its meridian, when the dove of peace 
shall hover over all sections and the olive branch rest over every 
door post. But in bringing in this goodly day let the Anglo- 
Saxon of this great church be warned that the gods of the ages 
past and oracles of the future watch his efforts, lest in his 
strength and superior advantages he does injustice to millions 
of helpless Negroes, who are more dependent upon the sense 
of justice and fair play of the Anglo-Saxon to-day than in all 
the days of the three hundred years gone by. 

There is no reason why the Negro and the white man, North 
and South, should not come together in one great church. Be- 
cause history does not furnish an example of the peaceful abid- 
ing of different races in the same fold is no reason why we may 
not succeed. Methodism may be the schoolmaster to the world 
in race relationships. There is room enough for us all, white, 
black, North and South. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 235 

Abraham Lincoln said in his speech at New Haven, Con- 
necticut, March 1, 1860 : "If it was like two wrecked seamen on 
a narrow plank, where each must push the other off or drown 
himself, I would push the Negro — or a white man either; but 
it is not ; the plank is large enough for both." 



>:SQ A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



THE PROBLEM: THE NEGRO 
Henry N. Snyder, D.D. 

For the preparation of this paper I have read, besides numer- 
ous magazines and review articles, the following books: Amer- 
ican Methodism, Its Divisions and Unification, Bishop Thomas 
B. Neely, 1915; Breaking Down the Walls, Bishop Earl Cran- 
ston, 1915; "That They May Be One," Dr. C. B. Spencer, 
1915; The Negro in the South, Booker T. Washington and 
W E. B. DuBois, 1907; Manners and Morals Among Negro 
Americans, Atlanta University Publications, 1914; The Negro 
Year Book, M. N. Work, Tuskegee Institute, 1913; The Negro's 
Progress in Fifty Years, Publications of the American Academy 
of Political and Social Science, 1913; The Negro Church, 
Atlanta University Publications, 1903. 

The special question of Methodist union is but a phase, an 
exceedingly important one, to be sure, of a larger general move- 
ment towards religious unity. In spite of many things that 
seem to contradict, the present hour is a saturated solution of a 
get-together mood that waits for crystallization upon a leader- 
ship wise enough to know practically what to do to bring about 
the precipitation. But it is certain that the leadership that 
can thus make practically effective the whole great mood of the 
hour has not yet been found. We listen to voices that thrill us 
with the bigness of their interpretation of it, expand our souls 
with the wide reach of the vision they unroll, and shame us 
with the accusing thought of our narrowness and prejudice. 
However, when we start to get the thing done, to turn into 
a reality the vision of unity we have seen, we seem to be but 
nibbling at one of the greatest tasks we have in hand. Yet, in 
spite of the reaction that comes of the sense that practically 
we are getting nowhere, the vision splendid still haunts us and 
will not let us stop with our shriveled achievements. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 237 

In a peculiar way is this so when we let ourselves think of the 
matter of a union of Methodism. We have so much in common, 
as we often say to ourselves, in history, in doctrine, in expe- 
rience, in spirit, and purpose, that, after we have piled up all 
the convincing reasons why we should not unite and have done 
our share of nibbling at certain questions of practical issue 
between us, there still remains an "ought" that simply will not 
let us be as we are. This "ought" disturbs the various Methodist 
bodies because they cannot escape the conviction that it has in it 
the very spirit of the Master himself, that, in particular, this 
spirit by this time should be a complete solvent for the historic 
differences that have divided Methodism, and that somehow what 
appears to be a sectional church is forever on the defensive not 
only to the world it seeks to serve, but, what is worse, to itself. 
If therefore other Protestant Churches are conscious of an 
impulse toward unity, if not union, the two great Methodisms 
must be more so. 

They, therefore, to a greater degree than any others, under 
the urge of this impulse must face frankly and in the spirit 
of their common Lord, common doctrine, and common polity the 
things that keep them many churches, with the single view of 
how best to advance the Kingdom of God. After we have done 
this it may be that our conclusion will be that the business 
of the Kingdom may be best advanced by many Methodisms 
rather than one. Personally, I do not think it can. But this 
I shall not discuss because from the nature of my topic — "The 
Negro as a Factor to be Considered in the Movement for Union" 
— I understand, of course that the desirability for union is 
assumed. This granted, I have to consider only the relation of 
the Negro to us and our relation to him and his welfare, and 
both him and us to the larger matter of the advancement of the 
Kingdom. 

First of all, then, let us try to interpret, as sympathetically 
as we may, the points of view of the three human elements in the 
question — the membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
the membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and 



238 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the Negro himself. For this is fundamentally a human question 
with which we are dealing, and what people think and how they 
feel determine their attitude, and we are all people, though 
Methodists. Let us see, then, what may be taken as the attitude 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It stands, of course, in 
peculiar relationships to its more than 300,000 Negro members, 
relationships created and still controlled by well-known his- 
torical conditions. Human life is organic, and there is no such 
thing as the dead hand of the past. It is a living hand, though 
we may not always realize consciously its grip. Yet we do 
realize enough of its power to know that it governs in no small 
degree our attitude toward the Negro. For him we broke asunder 
a nation-wide Methodism, for him, under the guise of preserving 
the Federal Union, we fought a four years' war, for him our 
hearts were mightily stirred during the tragedy of reconstruc- 
tion. We could not go through these experiences without per- 
haps feeling more than thinking, without having many things 
distorted by stormy gusts of emotions rather than seen in the 
cool dry light of reason. 

But there emerged out of these experiences, necessarily, certain 
fundamental convictions in our attitude toward him. He was 
our ward, our very own, and his religious welfare was peculiarly 
our responsibility. We might fail in any other trust and be 
pardoned, but not in this one. We saw him in terms of millions 
of black human beings, religiously neglected, socially cast out, 
politically disinherited, and economically dispossessed. Here 
was a missionary appeal of tremendous power, and not to 
respond to it was the same as if we turned deaf ears to the voice 
of God, knew not the spirit of the Master, shut our hearts to the 
call of human sympathy right at our own doors, and forgot our 
history. But we heard the appeal, took the Negro to ourselves, 
built churches, schools, colleges, theological seminaries for him, 
pouring by the millions our money into all enterprises that made 
for his upbuilding. The record of what you have done, I may 
say, speaking to the Methodist Episcopal Church, is a splendid 
one, and your achievement in his behalf is a rare contribution 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 239 

to the progress of a supremely important phase of American 
life. Nobody can justly charge that you have failed to do your 
best in meeting your responsibility as you saw it. 

Thus while the older memories — ante bellum contentions, the 
hate of slavery, the bitterness of war, the antagonisms of re- 
construction — have lost much of their vividness, or else lie here 
and there pocketed like stagnant pools only to be ruffled now 
and then by vagrant gusts of moldy wind out of the past, the 
immediate, constructive achievements of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church for the uplift of the Negro are vitally a part of 
its present thought and attitude. In terms of these achievements 
and the human relationships created by them will it most likely 
do its thinking. What, then, is the nature of these relationships ? 
In trying to answer this question, I tread my way under no 
sense of dogmatic assurance, but rather with the feeling that 
I may easily go astray. I am conscious, moreover, of no other 
purpose than to get at the heart of the human element in this 
question. After all that we have done, have we made our Negro 
membership quite at home ecclesiastically, to go no further? 
Theoretically, he possesses equality of religious status and oppor- 
tunity, but practically does he have it? May he be elected to 
any of the great connectional offices, chosen a bishop, or be 
appointed pastor to a white congregation ? My point in raising 
these questions is to inquire if, as a matter of fact, he is not in 
the church rather than of it, and to draw the general conclusion 
that, though within the church, in reality, cover it as we may, 
the Negro membership is so segregated as to amount almost to 
a separate but dependent church. 

This condition might, in the long run, turn out to be an 
entirely satisfactory one. But from certain aspects of it, it seems 
to me to have involved in it troublesome and distressing pos- 
sibilities. To be persistently conscious of a conflict between 
theory and practice, to be saying one thing and actually doing 
another, is not good for us or for him. This conflict is apt to 
disturb us all the more because it has to do with such a high 
matter as that of religion. It must get on the conscience of 



240 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

many who want to be logical, to practice what they preach in 
literal, straight-pathed exactness. The result can easily be 
controversy, contention, and jarring discords between old loy- 
alties and pledges and new expediencies and facts until we 
become acutely conscious that somehow the color line has cut 
its dividing way into the church of Christ — that branch of it 
that said with the emphasis of its history that there should be 
none. And there stands our colored brother, confused, hurt, 
sorely wounded in the house of "his friends," sadly wondering 
once more if he has, even religiously speaking, a place under the 
sun ! It may be that I am only "seeing things," and that such 
a condition can never develop. Nevertheless, no student of the 
psychology and history of racial relationships will deny it 
as a real possibility and a persistent threat. 

If these considerations have sufficient truth to give them 
weight, then we must conclude that the Negro is a factor to be 
reckoned with always when we think about the matter of church 
union with the view of taking practical steps toward it. If, 
moreover, these considerations suggest that the Negro's pres- 
ence in the church which has adopted him may finally create 
relationships unhappy for him and for the church itself, they 
have an immensely deeper significance when we turn to inter- 
pret that other human element in our question — the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. And here once more our method of 
approach must be by way of certain historical experiences. To 
the membership of this church the Negro was first a slave forced 
upon the white people as a citizen by the violent decision of war. 
They thought, and, in spite of everything to the contrary, still 
think, they knew him, his strength and his weakness, his virtues 
and his vices, better than anybody else. Millions of his sort 
were suddenly turned loose, unready, from the very nature of 
their history, for the privileges and duties of citizenship — the 
easy, pathetic prey of the unreasoning idealist and the unscrupu- 
lous demagogue. Alas ! we know too well the tragic story of it 
all. We wish we might tear out of the book of our common 
American history some of the pages that tell it. But if we could 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 241 

do this we could not quite obliterate that part of it which has 
been so written in the psychology of the people of the South as to 
modify their attitude toward the Negro whenever any question 
comes up concerning his political, social, economic, and religious 
status. 

This attitude, the product of historical conditions, which 
time has done much to soften and clarify, and of more imme- 
diate experiences which actual practice has seemed to approve 
as expedient if not always as just, has fundamental in it the 
preservation of white political, social, and racial integrity. The 
South came out of the war with very little left, and as its people 
looked about over their ruins, the one fierce passion that took 
possession of their hearts was to gather together the remnants 
of their shattered political order. They went about this task 
under the simple impulse of self-defense. Without the recon- 
struction, under new conditions, of a far-brought political system 
in which they were the hereditary masters, not even the little that 
was left of what they called the "white man's civilization" could 
be kept intact. Their purpose to accomplish this reconstruction 
at any cost gradually clarified itself of the unreasoning push 
of blind conviction, and settled into certain well-known methods 
of procedure written in the laws of States and cities and con- 
firmed by the unwritten, yet no less compelling laws of racial 
belief and habit — the legal disfranchisement of the Negro, stat- 
utes against intermarriage, provisions for separate railroad 
coaches and dividing lines in street cars, hotels for white people 
only, special places for Negroes in theaters and other public 
buildings, and segregation in towns and cities. 

Any other white race with a similar history would not have 
done otherwise — would have felt that its first duty was to pre- 
serve its political, social, and racial integrity. I say this not so 
much in justification — maybe the price the South paid was too 
high or the same results could have been accomplished better 
by other means — but I say it to help us to understand an attitude 
of mind which must be appreciated whenever we consider the 
Negro as a factor in the movement toward the union of American 



242 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Methodism. In this attitude of mind the M. E. Church, South, 
set to themselves their own colored membership, organized them, 
and ordained their first bishops, and the friendliness that has 
existed since, the multiplied opportunities for cooperation with- 
out friction and without the occasion of arousing possible antag- 
onisms, have convinced the church that what they did was really 
for the best interests of both churches and both races. They are 
able now, moreover, to reaffirm their conclusion after an expe- 
rience of more than fifty years and in the calmer light of a time 
when old fears have been laid, when the old kindness they once 
felt toward the Negro has measurably revived, and when rid of 
the old uncertainties as to how he might use his freedom, they 
desire to help his progress along all right and righteous lines. 

Now that other element in our question — the factor himself, 
the American Negro. As we try to look with the eyes of the 
thinking men among them, and their number is steadily increas- 
ing, we lift the curtain on a singularly moving tragedy, of which 
the end is not yet. Torn ruthlessly from his own land, a savage 
with the fires of the jungle burning in his nature and disciplined 
and enlightened by none of the arts of civilized life, transplanted 
into conditions with which nothing in his past could give him 
familiar connections, for two and one-half centuries a slave, a 
living piece of chattel property, yet learning under compulsion 
the simpler industrial arts of this world, imitating as far as he 
could its manners and its morals, and even in astonishing num- 
bers accepting its religion and, according to his light, living up 
to its standards; a long accusing contradiction, fraught with 
bitterest contentions, to the spirit of the institutions upon which 
he had been grafted, before his day flung violently and suddenly 
and by no planning of his own into a political, social, and 
economic freedom that made him the immediate victim of un- 
kindness at the hands of those to whom he was formerly bound 
by affectionate ties, the victim also of a mistaken kindness born 
of the unthinking zeal of newfound friends whose very ideas 
were alien to him, the pitiful tool of the politician of both his 
own and the white race — here is a tale the like of which cannot 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 243 

be found in the history of any other race. The wonder is that 
in spite of all the experiences here but hinted at the Amer- 
ican Negro has been able to keep himself so unembittered and, 
though sorely buffeted on every side by the head winds and cross 
currents of circumstance, has shown an amazing power of adap- 
tation and has moved forward in economic and moral progress 
to an astonishing degree. 

But this power of adaptation and this progress are far from 
meaning that he is yet at home in his new world, that he is a 
welcome citizen in the household of the American political 
family, and not an intruder, and that even in the church of 
Christ he is not still, as one sitting by the Beautiful Gate of the 
Temple, stretching forth begging hands. One does not have 
to listen long to the voices of their leaders to realize how acutely 
this is a growing thought among them. Of course, the masses 
do not think at all. It would be too much to expect them to do 
so. But education is spreading, and men who do think are 
increasing and are going to increase more and more. From this 
class their leadership must recruit itself. This leadership will 
have an intelligent knowledge of the past of the race, will see its 
present economic, political, social, and religious status and rela- 
tionships, and will look ahead in order to direct the lines of its 
future progress. They are doing this already. As I try to put 
myself in their place, I find myself wondering whither their 
thinking is directing them. Some, I know, are passionately con- 
cerned about what, to them, is the cruelty of the separating 
stigma of color, about the injustice of imputed inferiority and 
of social and political rights denied under institutions organized 
to guarantee them without regard to class or color or race. These 
are the idealists questing in a hostile world for something with- 
out which they can see no happy and lasting progress for their 
race. 

Then, there are the realists among them, men of a practical 
temper, who see the progress of the race almost wholly in terms 
of their industrial and economic welfare. These are not much, 
or at any rate not chiefly, concerned with political rights, with 



244 A WOEKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

questions of equality, or with religious affiliations. They think 
they are putting first things first when they insist that the 
salvation of the race depends upon its industrial efficiency and 
economic development. From their standpoint other things 
can well wait on this, and, indeed, these other things desired by 
the idealists will come, if ever, through the Negro's establishing 
himself in such an economic status as will make him a vitally 
obvious necessity to the civilization to which he is a contributing 
part. Leaders of this type, though once exceedingly unpopular 
among their own people and still so in certain quarters, are 
slowly multiplying under the logic of facts — facts that prove 
that industrial success has a way of acquiring standing, rights, 
and privileges denied to inefficiency and failure. 

Now both of these classes of Negro leaders, though approach- 
ing the matter from different angles, believe that the Negro will 
get nowhere permanently and worthily without the development 
among them of a race consciousness and the preservation of 
racial integrity. They are fighting together for such a self- 
respect, for such an emphasis upon the admirable qualities of 
the race, for such a pride in its achievements in all lines of 
human endeavor as will take away finally all shame of color and 
dignify it into a badge of honor. Joining hands with them in 
such a fight is yet another group of leaders who believe that 
this can best be done by the Negro's taking to himself as many 
of his peculiar tasks as he possibly can and working them out 
under his own initiative and by his own efforts. In this way 
they are convinced that personal and collective self-dependence 
can best be evolved together with that racial pride necessary to 
arouse ambition and fix the purpose to preserve the integrity 
of the race. Moreover, along this road they are seeing a pro- 
gress least impeded by the inevitable frictions and painful 
reminders of race differences and they recognize also along this 
road a freer opportunity for unhindered colored leadership and 
for a readier, more friendly cooperation on the part of the white 
people, especially of the white people of the South, where most 
of the Negroes are and will doubtless forever remain, 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 245 

If I have so far rightly interpreted the mood and state of 
mind of the human elements involved in the question under 
discussion — the membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
the membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and 
of the Negro himself — then he is an essential factor when we 
come to consider the question of the union of American Meth- 
odism. Moreover, if my own views, which I think have been 
clearly evident throughout, lead anywhere, they lead in the direc- 
tion of some form of cooperative church relationship whereby 
he may be permitted of himself to work out his religious destiny 
under his own leaders, free from conditions that keep him in a 
state of subservient dependency, subjecting him to irritations 
that are sure to increase with his developing race consciousness 
and growing intelligence, and depriving him of that expression 
of successful initiative in a field in which his achievements have 
already shown him to be possessed of a practical power of organ- 
ization and direction. I mean the church. This is, as some one 
has said, the only institution the Negro may really call his own. 
What prevents, therefore, our giving him his chance thus to 
make Methodism really his own, with his own Conferences, 
bishops, and officers, while at the same time a united white Meth- 
odism may aid his progress as never before through the processes 
of cooperative joint boards wisely directed to the end of serving 
him and advancing his interests, not as a dependent to be sus- 
piciously handled, but as a fellow Christian, a man to be gener- 
ously served? 



246 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



THE PROBLEM: THE NEGRO 

WlLBUB P TlIIBKIELD, D.D. 

A cleab view of the Negro as a factor in any movement of 
Methodism toward union involves a brief consideration of the 
Negro as related to the history and development of Methodism 
in America. The question involves roots that stretch deep into 
the past. In the order of Providence we find the relation of the 
Negro to the history of Methodism singularly close and per- 
sistent. God seems to have linked up the Methodist Church to 
the Negro as a strong factor in his redemption. 

Wesley uttered his deep concern for the Negro even while in 
Georgia. In the first congregation of five gathered in the sail 
loft in New York the Negro was there. In 1769 Mr. Boardman 
writes to Mr. Wesley : "The number of blacks that attend preach- 
ing affects me," giving details that reveal the breadth of human- 
ity, and religious concern for the Negro in early Methodism. 
From New York, in 1770, Mr. Pilmore writes to Mr. Wesley: 
"Even some of the despised children of Ham are striving to 
wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. 
This evinces the truth that God is no respecter of persons, but 
in every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness 
is accepted of him." 

The same spirit moved the heart of Asbury, as we read in his 
journal of November, 1776 : "To see the poor Negroes so affected 
is pleasing; to see their sable countenances in solemn assemblies 
and to hear them sing with cheerful melody their Redeemer's 
praise affected me much and made me ready to say, of a truth 
I perceive that God is no respecter of persons/' In 1772 Mr. 
Asbury again speaks of being "greatly affected" in the sight 
of Negroes as they reverently bared their heads at the Lord's 
table. In all this do we not early see God's hand stretched forth 
through Methodism in behalf of a race ? 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 247 

The separation of 1844 in no wise affected this course relative 
to the Negro unless it was to deepen and strengthen the work, 
especially through the South. So vigorous was the work that in 
1860 the Church South recorded 200,000 members, and 180,000 
in the Sunday school. The report on missions in the General 
Conference of 1860 referred to this work as "the crowning glory 
of the church." 

Be it remembered, the Negro worshiped in churches with the 
whites ; heard the best preaching ; got the rudiments of religious 
thought; was brought into touch with God; in song and prayer 
and worship he was touched by the powers of the world to come. 
He learned the Scripture; he could not read, and so stored 
the Bible in memory until many a slave became mighty in 
the Scriptures. He wove psalm and prayer and prophecy into 
those pathetic and immortal melodies that yet clutch the heart. 
In fact, he got strong hold of the rudiments of the Christian 
religion. The seed fell into good ground. 

Following the desolation of war came the tragedy of recon- 
struction. It was not merely that carpet-baggers joined with 
bad Southern men, broke into the treasuries of the States, but 
that, in carrying out their bold designs, they broke off the old 
relations between the whites and blacks — this was the irreparable 
wrong. Especially was this rupture disastrous as related to the 
religious life of the Negro. A gulf was made between the races. 
The old, deep sense of obligation for the religious care of the 
Negro, finding expression in aggressive missionary work, was 
largely lost. The Church South set off its colored members into 
the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, ordaining bishops for 
the same. Doubtless multitudes of these Methodists were gath- 
ered into the Methodist Episcopal Church when it entered the 
South. Let us not forget that without this work of our 
common Methodism up to 1844 and the subsequent work 
of the Church South, the remarkable progress of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church among Negroes could not be re- 
corded. 

Let it be kept in view that this separation of the races in 



248 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

church life and work left the Negro, on the threshold of freedom, 
largely to the instruction and leadership of a nieagerly taught 
and unlettered native ministry. Had it not been for the effective 
religious work done under slavery by thousands of missionaries 
and Bible teachers, the masses would have drifted into barbarism 
before teachers trained in missionary schools after the war could 
have reached and uplifted them. The church, on the threshold 
of emancipation, became the center of their social, political, and 
educational, as well as their religious life. One of the miracles 
of modern Christianity is seen in the power of preaching and 
in the initiative and skill in organization and leadership shown 
by the Negro ministry after the war. The older ministry was 
largely unlettered. Yet it arrested a downward movement of 
the race, and through the power of God and his Word lifted 
multitudes into the life and light of Christ. 

Whence came these Negro preachers and class leaders, who, in 
this critical period at the close of the war, effectively reached 
and held the multitudes of roving freedmen, and who through 
the troublous reconstruction days gave Christian restraint and 
direction to their lives, laying broad and deep the foundations 
for colored Methodism throughout the South; men who knew 
God, men with minds stored with God's Word ; men who prayed 
with power and fervor, who preached the Word with grace and 
saving power? 

Whence came the Cordozas, the Bulkleys, the Revels, the 
Lanes, the Holseys, the Gaineses, and the Clintons — preachers 
just out from slavery, who with strange power subdued king- 
doms, wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions, out 
of weakness were made strong? Whence these thousands of 
preachers and class leaders, ready for the task of laying the 
foundations and building up an episcopal Methodism among 
Negroes, now numbering in its several branches over two mil- 
lion members, with one million children in the Sunday schools; 
an army of three millions of black Methodists, singing 

"We are the sons of Wesley, 
We are the sons of God. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 249 

Whence came at the close of the war these hundreds of Meth- 
odist preachers and teachers of the Negro race — men who knew 
the Bible, men who, with pathos and power, could sing the 
hymns of Charles Wesley, men who could testify to a rich and 
genuine experience of the saving grace and the comforting joy 
of the Lord Jesus ? Whence came they ? 

With reverent heart and uncovered head, I have stood before 
that plain slab in the churchyard at Columbia, South Carolina, 
which bears on its face the simple inscription, "William Capers, 
Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Founder of 
Missions to the Slaves." To the heroic missionary zeal of this 
man of God, Methodism and American civilization owe an 
unspeakable debt of gratitude; for through his leadership Meth- 
odism began in a larger way her Christian work among the 
blacks of the South. 

Would you catch the spirit of this missionary and prophet of 
God, then hear his impassioned appeal before the last General 
Conference of our united Methodism: "When we tell you that 
we preach to 100,000 slaves in our missionary field, we only 
announce the beginning of our work ; when we add that there are 
now 200,000 within our reach who have no gospel unless we give 
it to them, it is still but the same announcement of the opening 
of that wide and effectual door which was so long closed, and so 
lately has begun to be opened for the preaching of the gospel 
by our ministry to a numerous and destitute portion of the 
people. Oh, close not this door! Life or death, we will never 
desert that work to which we know God called us." The out- 
come of such a zeal and devotion was that in 1860 Southern 
Methodism had over 200,000 colored members and 180,000 chil- 
dren in Sunday schools. Such was the estimate of the church 
upon this work that in their address to the General Conference 
the bishops said, "We regard these missions as the crowning 
glory of the church." And the General Conference in its ad- 
dress to the pastors responded: "The salvation of the colored 
people in our midst is the primary duty of the church." 

Fortunate indeed for this race and for the civilization of 



250 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

America, when there came upon it the strain of these millions, 
fresh from slavery, without preparation for citizenship, that a 
quarter of a million had been trained, even though crudely, in 
Methodist discipline, doctrines and moral ideals. The record of 
the Negro race, under the circumstances, is one of the miracles 
of history. And of all the single contributions of Methodism to 
the civilization of America, the gathering of the millions of 
these black people into well ordered church life and Sunday 
school training, within a generation and a half after emancipa- 
tion, must take rank among the largest and most far-reaching 
achievements of American Methodism. 

Now, with this background of history with its roots striking 
deep into the life of our American Methodism, with a reunion 
of several branches of Methodism in view, we are prepared to 
consider the Negro as a factor in the movement for reunion. 
And may I say that through thirty years of my ministry — nearly 
all spent in the South — I have not only prayed, but lived for 
fraternity and union, as my brethren here may bear witness. 

I confine this discussion and consideration primarily to the 
Negro membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church as a 
factor in reunion, the possibility of an early union of all Negro 
Methodists not being under immediate consideration in the pres- 
ent movement for reunion. It would appear that the other 
bodies of colored Methodists are not yet ready for such union. 
It has proved impracticable, even after prolonged and urgent 
negotiations, to secure the union of even two of these bodies. 
May not the colored members of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in the United Church prove the nucleus around which the other 
bodies may in due time be gathered? 

First, let us keep in view the type of Negro Methodists that 
the Methodist Episcopal Church has produced as the outcome 
of fifty years of education and Christianization, as a constituent 
part of the church. We began with the unlettered Negro, who, 
freed, fared forth with shambling step and uncertain, moving out 
into a vague world unrealized; just rising out of chattelhood, 
a state of being classed with things. The church took him by the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 251 

hand as free man ; made him brother ; through school and church 
lifted him out of the impersonal into a realization of not only 
the individual but also into a growing sense of personality. 
Some feared that sympathy was misdirected as it leaped over 
old conditions, racial boundaries, and established standards, pro- 
claiming with new meaning, "God hath made of one blood all 
nations of men," and eager with the Christian spirit of racial 
adjustment, sounded forth in word and act the revealing word of 
God to Peter, "God hath showed me that I should call no man 
common." Our church did what our brothers of the South, 
because of political, economic, and social conditions and in- 
grained education and racial attitude, could not at that time do. 
Let us ever keep in view that the larger part of this educa- 
tion in the church has not been through books but through con- 
tact, in the spirit of the word, 

Not what we give, but what we share, 
For the gift without the giver is bare. 

The word of Professor La Conte is significant: "We are apt 
to exaggerate the influence of formal education through schools 
and books with informal, that which comes through contact with 
higher individuals and races that have had larger advantages. 
This latter is by far the more important in the education of a 
whole race," in the formation of habits, in general advance- 
ment of character, in the preparation for self-government, thrift, 
self-support, home improvement. 

It is not too much to say that association and education in 
the church through contact with bishops and leaders in the 
Annual Conferences, through participation in the General Con- 
ference, through membership in committees and boards, through 
the church press, through Sunday school literature — above all, 
through the broadening influence of the church — has developed 
a religious consciousness, standards and ideals that have lifted 
multitudes of the colored ministers and members of our church 
to a high level of experience, Christian morality, and efficiency. 

Coming now directly to the reunion of the churches, it is pro- 



9 ~, O 

/v t) /V 



YZ A WOKKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



posed that the Negro membership of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church be set off in a separate body. The tentative proposition 
of the Church South is even strongly advocated by many in our 
own church. Let us consider the practical outcome of such a 
proposed process; that is, the method and the cost: 

It is clear to those who know the loyalty and devotion of the 
masses of the Negro ministry and membership of our church 
that they must be forced out. This loyalty to the old church is 
often overwhelmingly strong and even pathetic. In a recent 
debate in the Upper Mississippi Conference on the amendment 
for "Bishops for Eaces and Languages/' this amendment was 
violently opposed by a number of preachers, who carried half 
the Conference with them, on the ground that it looked to ulti- 
mate separation from the church. Said one, "We were asked to 
come into what we love to call f the dear old Mother Church.' 
When the division was made in 1844 we were not consulted. 
There are only three ways of getting out — to die out, to be 
expelled, to withdraw of one's own free will. We are not dying 
out, but increasing. We do not propose to be expelled, nor of 
our own volition shall we withdraw." 

Through separation the church would lose an unmeasured 
opportunity for the continual elevation and Christianization of 
the race. Our work among the masses is only well begun. We 
have touched with redemptive power only the fringes of the race. 
We are inclined to confuse the education of the individual with 
the redemption of a race. Sociology teaches that while the indi- 
vidual may be educated in a few years, yet the intellectual, social, 
and moral elevation and redemption of a race is a question of 
generations, if not of centuries. 

Again, the Negro is no small factor in the movement for 
union, when we consider not only conditions but the numbers 
represented in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Here are 
twenty Annual Conferences with over two thousand ministers 
and a membership of over one third of a million. For fifty 
years they have been vitally bound up with the history, pro- 
gress, and the organic life of the church. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 253 

Now, in the movement for union it is seriously proposed by 
some advocates to eliminate, or to set apart in a distinct body, 
our Negro membership with the idea that as union approaches, 
this membership is in the way, the assumption being that 
the Church South will require the practical elimination of our 
Negro membership as the price of union. This I do not be- 
lieve. 

In fact, the eager question "What shall we do with him?" 
roots back in the old consideration of the Negro in the mass. 
That is, with some it is the simple proposition and easily com- 
pleted process of just setting off one third of a million Negro 
members, and the work is done. The ethical root of the problem 
is laid bare when we lift the consideration of the Negro and his 
relations into the light of personality. There still clings to many 
the old error that was the basis of slavery, of thinking of the 
Negro in the mass. The great achievement of Christianity is 
that it "individualizes the downmost man and makes him count 
as one." It lifts him out of the herd. It destroys the market 
price in man. It finds in the downmost black man a soul above 
all price. He, too, is a son of God. 

Let those who would set the Negro off in a body hear a voice 
from one of the strong, cultured Negro members of our church, 
who for forty years has been a teacher of youth: "I joined the 
Methodist Episcopal Church from principle. Many things in 
its course have pained me, but I have clung to it. I have never 
joined the cry for Bishops or official recognition. I was willing 
to wait for that until the man arose, though it be forty or fifty 
years. I still believed there was a church in which the Negro 
might have the rights and hopes of a man. I now am growing 
old. I care not for myself. I have only hoped to have such 
a church to bequeath to my children." 

Out of all this association of school and church, as the result 
of educative process and contact, there has been developed a 
leadership in ministry and laity that makes strongly for the 
elevation of the race — men of vision, of broad horizon ; men with 
a passion for rade righteousness and uplift and achievement; 



254 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

men intent on building their lives into the larger designs of the 
church. 

The church based on the incarnation of Jesus Christ is in the 
interest of the downmost man. Caste limits the lowlv. The 
church witnesses to the capacity of the lowliest for growth even 
into the image of Christ. It lends him a hand. According to 
Fichte, on the basis of justice each man has an equal claim with 
every other man upon the full development of himself. Men are 
not equal, but every man has a right to a footing of equality of 
opportunity in the struggle of life. The question of equality, 
social or otherwise, is not involved in his consideration. No 
church can confer equality on any man, black or white. If he 
reveals capacity for it, it is an achievement, not a gift; the title 
is from God, not from man. To him who fears that this high 
association in the church may tend to put the Negro above the 
white man, I would answer in the word of Atticus G. Haygood, 
"That cannot be done unless the white man gets below the 
Negro." 

It is a saying as old as Ambrose, "The foundation of justice 
is faith. Christ is the object of faith to all. The church is, as 
it were, the outward form of justice. She is the common right 
of all." 

Who then shall shut the door against even the lowliest child 
of God? Who then is so bold as to open that door and to say, 
"While thou and thine were born and reared in this house of thy 
fathers, for the sake of what we conceive to be the larger inter- 
ests of the Kingdom, thou shalt go out to thine own color and 
kith and kin"? 

Now, this question before us has world-wide relations. It 
touches not the Negro in America merely, but colored peoples in 
India, China, and Japan — peoples the world around who, under 
Christianity, are coming to broader consciousness and press for 
answer to this question of brotherhood, which we may not evade. 

Suppose we should now withdraw from India and turn the 
masses of our brothers over exclusively to native education and 
leadership. What about the standards of Christian morality and 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 255 

modes of worship and upward spiritual movement among the 
masses ? The picture of Bishop Warne standing beside the half - 
clothed, low-caste native Indian preacher who had led a thou- 
sand souls to Christ is a type of the true church. 

Our church has interpreted God to the Negro in terms of 
fatherhood; that God is no respecter of persons. Should we as 
a church be guilty of injustice to "a race whom God has put 
into our hands as trustees for their elevation and improvement 
and for his glory," as the author of The Present South, Edgar 
Gardner Murphy, Southerner, said in relation to the state? 
May I apply to this religious and ecclesiastical situation the 
broad and noble word of Dr. J. L. M. Curry, Southern statesman 
and leader of men, spoken in the name of economics and justice 
to the Alabama Legislature in 1900 : "Shall the Caucasian race 
in timid fearfulness, in cowardly injustice, wrong an inferior 
race, put obstacles in its progress? Left to itself, away from 
the elevating influence of contact and tuition, there would be 
retrogression. Shall we hasten that retrogression ?" 

If in the name of the state such a prophetic word may be 
spoken in the interest of economics, justice, public welfare, what 
shall be the voice of the church in the interest of that kingdom 
of Jesus Christ, the door of which Paul, in the name of his risen 
Lord, opened to all peoples? 

As we face the question of possible separation as a condition 
of union, may we not well ask, is the religious sanction to prove 
weaker than racial prejudice? Shall we not go back to the 
word and example of Paul, who found the religious sanction 
and the power of grace a solvent for the enmity of race, a solvent 
for the complex ethnological problems of his time, as he opened 
the door of the church of Jesus Christ to all believers, "Jew and 
Greek, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman — that Christ 
might be all in all" ? 

It is said that if set off to himself the Negro will develop a 
larger degree of character and self-support. As to character, 
I would point to the leaders developed in the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, showing capacity, elevated standard of morality, 



256 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

high purpose and achievement as the outcome of life in the 
church. 

As to the Negro membership being pauperized through rela- 
tion to a strong, rich church, the following statistics are signifi- 
cant, showing that this relation does not pauperize but develops 
self-support in the colored membership of the church. 

For comparison, take the two quadrenniums 1896 to 1903. 
For missions, the net appropriations for the years 1896 to 1899 
were $108,806. The collections aggregated $67,452. For the 
next quadrennium, 1900 to 1903, the appropriations for mis- 
sionary work in the colored Conferences totaled $92,010. The 
collections rose to $83,131. That is, for the first quadrennium 
the colored Conferences gave 38.3 per cent of the appropriations. 
But for the second quadrennium, ending 1903, with reduced 
appropriations, the collections advanced to 47.4 per cent of 
the appropriations; a gain of 9.1 per cent. 

For the eight years the total appropriations for the colored 
Conferences aggregated $351,401. Of this amount the Confer- 
ences gave in collections $150,583. For the quadrennium ending 
1913 the decrease in appropriations to these twenty Conferences 
per year was $4,199 or $381 decrease to each Conference, or 
$16,795 for the quadrennium. But the Conferences increased 
their collections over those of the previous quadrennium to the 
amount of $15,678, or a total gain in self-support of $32,474. 
Those who realize the poverty out of which this giving came 
will appreciate the evident influence of the educative work of the 
Church, among our colored membership. This giving shows 
a spirit of loyalty and gratitude worthy of all praise. 

Two colored Conferences are now self-sustaining. For the 
eight years the appropriations to the Washington Conference 
totaled $24,034. The Washington Conference gave in return 
28,903, or $4,869 for the general benevolent work of the church. 
The appropriations to the Delaware Conference for eight years 
by the Missionary, Church Extension, and the Sunday School 
Boards were $22,659. The collections, in return, by this Con- 
ference were $37,013, or an excess of $14,354 beyond what they 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 257 

received, for the pushing on of the Kingdom in other parts of the 
church. 

These figures furnish a financial argument to those who claim 
that the Negroes in these Conferences are being pauperized, in 
view of the fact that the missionary offerings of these Confer- 
ences surpassed the record of the African Methodist Episcopal 
Church, which has double the membership, or of the African 
Methodist Episcopal Zion and the Colored Methodist Epis- 
copal Churches combined. The giving of these Conferences 
also surpasses the total gifts of the Negro Presbyterian, the Con- 
gregational, the Episcopal, and the African Methodist Episcopal 
Zion Churches combined. It is not equaled even by the Negro 
Baptists, with a million members. 

Such separation would sever the only actual bond of union 
now maintained between the races in America. Snap this bond 
of union between the races, and for all time they must walk 
apart in separate and even divergent paths. This is the only 
bond of union in any large way, either civil, political, educa- 
tional, or religious, that now exists between the races in America. 
Think of the problem of a whole race segregated, utterly 
crowded off to itself, with no organic contact with races on the 
higher levels! In crises this may mean tragedy for white and 
black. 

For the sake of our brothers of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, our Negro membership should be held as a part 
of the organic body of a reunited Methodism. 

In the first place, the Church South has never required as a 
condition of reunion that the Negro be eliminated from the 
organic body of a united Methodism. I entertain the hope that 
I voice the conviction of a growing number of leaders in the 
Southern Church when I make the plea for our present Negro 
membership as a constituent part of the organic whole. When 
in 1870 the Negro membership of the Church South was set off 
into a separate church organization, that church, in my judg- 
ment, parted with an opportunity of unmeasured possibilities 
for shaping the life of a race. There were strong reasons for 



258 A WOEKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

this action, not the least being the attitude in these trying times 
of the colored membership itself. But if through the past fifty 
years the Church South could have shaped the intellectual, 
moral, and religious methods and ideals of such a body of 
colored people, the outcome would have been of immeasurable 
advantage to both races throughout the South. 

By holding our Negro membership as an organic part of the 
reunited church the Methodist Episcopal Church can best carry 
its part of the burden inhering in the presence of ten million 
Negroes in our land. Significant words, those of Bishop Brent, 
at the laying of the corner stone of the Washington Cathedral : 
"May we never forget what at once is the gravest in fact and the 
richest in possibilities of our problems — the problem of the 
colored race. Forever will it be the problem of the nation, and 
not the problem of the South. When this fact is properly ac- 
cepted its solution will be in sight." 

By cutting off organic relation to our Negro membership, we 
shirk our obligation and lose an unmeasured opportunity. We 
sever the only moral and religious and ecclesiastical link that 
joins the Church to the Negro — the white race to the black race, 
and we drop the burden on the South. 

The Negro membership should be a part of the organic body 
on the theory that the united church, acting on and through such 
a body of ministers and laity, can best help in the peaceful solu- 
tion of the social and moral reform problems before the South. 
For the sake of the safety and ultimate good of the social whole, 
the Church South should come into this organic, vital, helpful 
relation to the Negro. Methodism of the North has its problem 
— the unredeemed alien elements in our great cities. 

The problem of the South is the presence of ten million black 
people, to-morrow twenty millions, the masses of whom have only 
barely been touched by the higher moral and religious life of the 
church. It is the old story of Edom hanging on the borders of 
Israel, a menace ever to the safety and moral life of God's people. 

In my judgment, Southern Methodism has never fully grasped 
the seriousness and possibilities of this problem because not 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 259 

organically related to the race in church life and work. During 
seventeen years in Georgia, closely related as I was to the general 
life of our common Methodism, I heard but one serious discus- 
sion of the relation of the church to the Negro in a Southern 
pulpit. Governor Northen claimed that, closely related to the 
church as he was, he never heard this subject presented in the 
pulpit. 

This vital relation of a body of Negro Methodists to the or- 
ganic whole has a bearing on the question of temperance reform 
at the South. While the States are rapidly becoming prohibi- 
tion territory, yet, as notably in the history of Kansas, the real 
battle has only begun. The drink habit is deeply rooted in both 
races. Only through long processes of education shall victory 
over "King Alcohol" be gained. 

The moral and educational value of this close contact of a 
race with the church, and the favorable outcome in moral reform 
movements is illustrated and enforced in the Negro ministry 
and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who in 
every campaign for prohibition are given the credit of stand- 
ing practically solid for reform. 

In such union the aggressions of the Roman Catholic Church 
among the Negroes in the South may be met through construc- 
tive and efficient service. Whether through nature or grace, yet 
surely by faith and training, the Negro is essentially Protestant. 
It would seem from our point of view, that the larger life of the 
race may be realized and its most efficient relation to the South 
and to the Kingdom of God may be best achieved through the 
Protestant faith. 

The Roman Catholic Church in the last decade has become 
singularly aggressive in work for the Negro. Through schools 
and churches, through the earnest and often beneficent work 
of priests and the sisterhood, the church is getting a strong hold 
on ever-increasing thousands of colored people. Did time avail 
I could give numerous facts, startling in their significance. The 
argument that appeals forcibly to many colored people is that 
the Catholic Church receives them into the full rights and priv- 



260 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

ileges of the one church. They may have, and often do, separate 
buildings for worship, yet all share in the Christian brotherhood 
of races. If our Methodism that has held the confidence, affec- 
tion and devotion of millions of colored people is, in the coming 
years, to best meet the subtle aggressions of the Roman Cath- 
olic Church, then let Methodism express its faith, its religious 
convictions and ideals through a large body of Negro members 
in organic relation to the Church. 

For the sake of Africa and its redemption, I plead for this 
organic relation in our reunited Methodism. As Bishop Hay- 
good has said, "This nation is under bonds to Africa." The 
Negro is here in the providence of God. May we not believe that 
three centuries ago God had in his thought and plan to reach 
and redeem some millions of his lowly black children on the con- 
tinent of Africa ? How was he to accomplish this high design ? 
He could not appeal to the spirit of missions among the people 
of God, for the church was blind to the heathen world. He could 
not appeal to the spirit of altruism. It did not exist. God had 
to make use of the selfishness of man — his greed, his cupidity, 
to accomplish his purpose — that is, he caused "the wrath of man 
to praise him." Under the overruling providence of God it 
transpired that, in the fullness of time, several millions of a 
sometime savage people were, under the tutelage of slavery, 
trained in ideas of law and order, in the civilizing power of sus- 
tained work, in the English language, in the knowledge of God's 
Word, in the rudiments of the Christian religion. Later Lin- 
coln felt himself guided by the hand of God in the emancipation. 
So that in this our day we behold ten millions of black people 
further advanced in civilization, in Christian knowledge, in the 
Protestant religion, than any other like millions of colored 
peoples on the face of the earth. Surely the wrath of men hath 
praised thee, God ! 

But we are only at the beginning. Let us catch the full vision 
of the Psalmist, as he cries — "The residue of wrath shalt thou 
gird upon thee" (R. V.). That is, with the powers that are 
the outcome of these years of tutelage and training of a race 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 261 

God is girding himself for the accomplishment of his ultimate 
purpose in the redemption of the millions of the sons of Ham, 
who in Africa's dark land through the dolorous and accursed 
ages have been stretching out their hands unto God. At the end 
of the ages, God is now stretching out his hands unto Africa. 
The Stewart Missionary Foundation for Africa, in Gammon 
Theological Seminary, was organized and endowed twenty years 
ago for the equipment of American Negroes for this task. Under 
its influence a score or more are now missionaries in Africa. 
What the American Negro needs is a motive so large and divine 
that it will turn away his mind from himself, his needs and 
sufferings and privations. That motive is Africa and its redemp- 
tion. This motive is so big that in it a race can float, and thus 
be lifted to higher levels of life and achievement. Joseph Cook 
is right : "The star of hope for Africa is not over the Nile or the 
Congo, but over the Mississippi." The American Negro must, 
in the end, redeem the countless millions of Africa. 

What a vision of the new day of Christ do we witness in the 
going of Bishop Lambuth and Professor Gilbert down the Congo 
and on afoot into the wilds of Africa to found a mission there in 
the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South ! Professor 
Gilbert, graduate of Paine Institute for colored youth, main- 
tained by the Church South; scholar, gentleman, fellow in the 
American school at Athens, speaker of modern Greek; Bishop 
Lambuth, his soul aflame for the carrying out of God's redeem- 
ing purpose for Africa, through America. 

0, that we may see in the picture of these two men, white and 
black, hand in hand, as they walk through the eight hundred 
long miles of the jungles of Africa to find and heal the lost sheep 
of Christ — may we see in this the vision of a coming united 
Methodism, ultimately white and black together, hand in hand 
with God, seeking to accomplish God's purpose to redeem 
America and Africa and all nations unto our Christ. 

Standing thus face to face with the problem and the oppor- 
tunity of these ten millions — our brothers in black — may we, 
brothers all, seek anew to know the will of God through us for 



262 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

a race. And whatever may be the ultimate plan for union, let 
us go forth with a fresh sense of consecration to the task of 
redeeming this race, with whose religious life God hath strangely 
bound up our American Methodism; and let us hear ringing 
across the century that appeal of Bishop Capers : "Oh, close not 
this door ! Life or death, we will never desert that work to which 
we know God called us." 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 263 



THE PROBLEM: THE NEGRO 
L. J. Coppin, D.D. 

Theee may still exist reasons why the Christian bodies known 
by various connectional names, and holding to different religious 
tenets, may not, at this time, come together into one fold, repre- 
senting but one denomination, but it is a question that is being 
seriously considered by many, whether or not there still exist 
valid reasons why denominational subdivisions adhering to prac- 
tically the same faith and form of discipline should continue to 
stand out as separate churches under different titles. 

In any discussion upon the subject of organic union of Meth- 
odists, so far as such a union concerns the Negro, such ques- 
tions as these will arise: What did Methodism originally stand 
for distinctly ? What additional tasks has it undertaken during 
the years of its existence ? Has it maintained that original cour- 
age and vigor that can still be relied upon to make good the 
declaration that Methodism is Christianity in earnest, and there- 
fore entitled to continued existence with all the branches united ? 

The organization out of which Methodism grew came into 
existence with the avowed purpose of giving an impetus to schol- 
arship and piety, the emphasis being placed on piety. To this 
task the Holy Club applied itself before its organization as a 
distinct religious denomination. 

A suggestion of the spirit of the age in which Methodism was 
born is rather forcefully presented by one writing upon its origin. 
Among other things, the writer says: "This was in the third 
year of the second George, a prince alike deficient in mental 
capacity and moral worth. In those days it was not the fashion 
for kings to practice the Christian virtues: indeed, the almost 
universal profligacy of royal courts would indicate that it was 
regarded as the highest prerogative of kings and princes to break 
all the ten commandments, and the more frequently they did 



264 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

so, the more did they display their dignity and power, since 
nothing could be a greater proof of royalty than a fearless dis- 
obedience of the law of God." In the light of such a pen picture 
of those times, the need of moral and religious reform was 
urgent, and afforded ample excuse for a reform movement. And 
so, with the slogan, broader learning, deeper piety, and due 
respect for the commandments of God, Methodism entered the 
field; and led on by John Wesley, who has been characterized 
as the chief of all of the reformers, made for itself a name and 
a place in the world worthy the approval of angels and men. 

Leaving the land of its birth, and coming to the new world, 
Methodism had a chance to sow in virgin soil those truths and 
principles that called it into existence, and which met strong 
opposition. But soon the intrepid society that had made such 
a good beginning was called upon to grapple with other con- 
ditions that opposed its progress. With the increase of popula- 
tion and wealth, men became more desirous of material advance- 
ment and less sensitive to ethical irregularities. Traffic in ardent 
spirits and human flesh got a place in the incorporate life of the 
new Republic. The invention of the cotton gin made slave labor 
more profitable. Under such conditions, Christians of all shades 
were called upon to decide between gold and the Golden Rule. 

So long as Methodism enjoyed the novelty peculiar to all 
reform movements, it was a big revival, floating upon the current 
of enthusiasm. Black Harry, or, Henry Hosier, who accom- 
panied Asbury and Coke in their itineraries, and preached 
alternately with them, was not only not objectionable on account 
of his color, but, if the Methodist historian is correct, his pop- 
ularity as a preacher added much to the success of the meetings. 
He was even called by some the greatest Methodist preacher in 
America. Richard Allen, another colored minister of those days, 
was offered a chance to travel regularly with Bishop Asbury, and 
declined only upon the ground that no salary was attached to the 
offer. 

When the novelty of the new style of preaching and praying 
wore away, Methodism had to settle down to normal procedure, 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 265 

take its place among other religious forces, and prove to the 
world whether indeed it was better prepared than other religious 
sects to "allure to brighter worlds and lead the way." 

Methodism seems not to have suffered in comparison with 
other religious denominations. With commendable courage it 
has kept its place in the forefront contending against current 
and popular evils, standing upon the cardinal doctrine of regen- 
eration which makes the man in Christ a new creature, and earn- 
estly contending for the faith that was once delivered to the 
saints. 

But the signs of the times everywhere tell us that Christianity 
is being and will be tested as never before. A large portion of 
the world nominally Christian is in deadly conflict, and sacri- 
ficing human life to a degree that has never been approached by 
savages; while the non- Christian world is derisively saying, 
"Aha ! aha !" It seems inopportune for that portion of Christen- 
dom that is neutral to engage in the discussion how far a Chris- 
tian may come short of the Sermon on the Mount, and yet be 
in good standing in the church. It is no longer a question how 
Methodism compares with other branches of the Christian reli- 
gion, but whether or not it will measure up to the standard of 
Christianity as taught by Christ and the holy apostles. 

Mr. Wesley, in his struggle for personal salvation, not by a 
formula set forth by the Holy Club, but by a personal knowledge 
of sins forgiven, said, in one of his communications: "Many 
reasons have I to bless God for my having come to America con- 
trary to all my preceding resolutions. Hereby I trust He hath 
in some measure humbled me, and proved me, and shown me 
what was in my heart. I went to America to convert the Indian, 
but who shall convert me?" After nearly two hundred years 
of effort, during which time it has quite circumnavigated the 
globe, shall Methodism be obliged to cry out : I came into exist- 
ence to reform others, but 0, who shall reform me ? 

In considering the question "The Negro as a factor to be con- 
sidered in the movement for union," we simply take up a factor 
that cannot be either overlooked or cast aside, if united Method- 



2GQ A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

ism is the question under consideration. The Negro is a large 
and important part of our common Methodism. He is a human 
being, not differing from other race varieties in his spiritual 
relation to God, his carnal relation to evil influences, and his 
filial relation to the world of mankind. Why should he consti- 
tute a special subject for discussion, in the light of the fact 
that in New Testament teaching there is neither "Greek nor 
Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, 
bond nor free, but Christ is all, and in all" ? 

In this spiritual unity of mankind in Christ, the middle wall 
of partition disappears, and any attempt to reerect it would be 
an acknowledgment that modern Christian practice was reveal- 
ing a lapse from its primitive integrity, instead of a growth in 
grace and in the knowledge of the truth. To have a union of 
Methodists with any of its parts purposely left out, would be a 
union that failed to unite, and an attempt to read into Method- 
ism an interpretation not warranted by New Testament stand- 
ards. 

In considering the question, Would it be to the advantage of 
the progress of the Kingdom at this particular stage of our social 
development to have a white and black membership in common ? 
we are bound to say that the only thing that proves real pro- 
gress in the kingdom of God is that which sets aside traditions 
and social demands when they are not in keeping with the doc- 
trine of the Kingdom. If at this particular stage of our social 
development we cannot admit into a common membership per- 
sons of every nationality and any race variety, we are not pro- 
gressives, but reactionists. Be not deceived. The warning note 
at John's great baptism was: "Think not to say within your- 
selves, We have Abraham to our father." 

This admonition might have checked the rushing crowd of 
Pharisees and Sadducees who were ready to unite with the new 
order, but numbers, at the expense of principle, does not consti- 
tute progress in Christ's Kingdom. Saint Paul, in Gal. 3. 9-29, 
disposes effectually of the privilege-class idea as held by the 
descendants of Abraham. The vision of Peter at Joppa and his 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 267 

experience at Csesarea opened the door to the Gentiles so wide as 
to admit of Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the 
dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in 
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the 
parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Eome, Jews and 
proselytes, Cretes and Arabians. In this summary we have 
specifically included Europe, Asia, and Africa, the then known 
world, and if there be a variety not included in the specifications, 
it must be of pre-Adamic origin, and not affected by the fall. 

But naming all who are heirs of salvation is one thing ; form- 
ing a cosmopolitan membership is quite another. No plan, legis- 
lation, vote or conference can bring this about. There will be 
found individuals to oppose it, and such will form themselves 
into separate congregations. The most that can be done in con- 
ference and discussion is to truthfully and fearlessly set forth 
the principles of Christianity, and invite all who will to accept 
them. There are now denominations, certainly one to my per- 
sonal knowledge, that grant membership upon equal terms to 
all who apply. There are individual churches of different de- 
nominations that do the same. These must be regarded as exhi- 
biting the true spirit of Christ whose name they bear, and who 
is no respecter of persons. 

If in spite of the plain teaching of the New Testament, and 
the results of nearly two thousand years of Christian effort, the 
validity of separate churches in one and the same denomina- 
tion is to be recognized, the question arises, on what basis a work- 
ing cooperation could be established. 

First of all, I would say, it must be purely cooperation without 
the least suggestion of subordination. Christianity is distin- 
guished from other religions by the Fatherhood-Sonship idea. 
We get our standing, not by any peculiarities in us or acquire 
ments by us. We are sons in a family. We are all made son - 
in the same way. We are brothers because we are sons, and, a ; 
we are nothing but sons, we are nothing but brothers. 

Our Lord says : "But be not ye called Eabbi : for one is your 
Master even Christ: and all ye are brethren. And call no man 



268 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

your father upon the earth, for one is your Father which is in 
heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, 
even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your 
servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; 
and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Christ him- 
self is called the first born among many brethren. 

If separate churches are recognized, each separate church or 
denomination must represent fully all that is implied by its title, 
so that in all fraternal relations each would stand the equal of 
the other, each giving and receiving such Christian courtesies as 
becomes children of one household, divided into separate fam- 
ilies. There seems to me to be no good reason why there might 
not be cooperation along all lines of Christian work. 

It would be greatly to the advantage of the kingdom of Christ, 
could his church progress to the extent that in Christian fellow- 
ship and service there would be no recognition of race or color. 
Such progress would go far toward refuting the declaration of 
a Chinese writer, who, in making a comparison between the doc- 
trines of Christ and those of Confucius, said the doctrines of 
Christ were so high that his disciples had never been able to 
reach them. 

There should be a cooperation that would avoid overlapping in 
church extension both in home and foreign mission fields, that 
would make it impossible for unworthy ministers, dropped from 
one denomination, to find shelter in another, and in school work, 
where men are prepared for the ministry, a sort of common cur- 
riculum could be adopted. 

Federal union among different denominations has made com- 
mendable progress of late. It is not unusual to see representa- 
tives of nearly all of the various denominations speaking from 
the same platform, and working together on committees and 
exchanging pulpits. But within the household of the several 
denominations the one ghost that will not down is the ghost of 
color. 

Men hold themselves personally responsible for religious opin- 
ions. Not so as to color. Religious opinions may undergo a 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 269 

change, not so with color. In religious opinions, men can be- 
come so tolerant as to give and take; not so with color; it does 
not sanction reciprocity. So long as a man of any race, variety, 
or color, is denied the privilege of worshiping without molesta- 
tion in any church, at any place he may chance to find himself 
on the Sabbath day, there exists an insuperable barrier to 
cooperation. 

Cardinal Gibbons, in a recent article on the subject "The 
World Needs Men," said, among other things: "We need men 
who are controlled by conscience rather than by expediency. 
The man who calmly fulfills a duty against public clamor dis- 
plays a higher courage than the captain who captures cities. 
The man who acts up to his conscience has but one Master, and 
that Master is God. But the slave of human opinion has as 
many masters as there are individuals whose censure he dreads, 
or whose smiles he secures at the expense of duty." 

For physical and psychological reasons, as well as by the great 
law of individual choice, congregations will always be made up 
of persons who find among themselves that congeniality that 
makes a body cohesive. This coming together by natural law 
in the spiritual world is not contrary to Christian ethics. But 
when such groups take Christ as their model, and Christian doc- 
trines as their standards, they cannot build a middle wall of 
partition between individuals holding to like standards, without 
stultifying the very law of liberty by which their standards were 
selected. 

To the extent that Methodism compromises those doctrines 
and modes of life that gave it its original power and influence, 
to that extent will it be weak and timid. Discovering its own 
nakedness, it will cry out, "I heard thy voice and was afraid." 
Rent and torn by divisions, and accommodating itself to the 
world's modern customs, its problems will multiply. But, with 
closed ranks and a return to primitive faith, zeal, and purity of 
life, the world will once more be constrained to cry out ; "These 
people have been with Jesus, and have learned of him," 



THE PROBLEM: 
WORK ON FOREIGN FIELDS 

EUGENE R. HENDRIX, D.D., 
Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South 

JOHN F. GOUCHER, D.D., 
Baltimore, Maryland 



THE PROBLEM : WORK ON FOREIGN FIELDS 

Eugene R. Hendkix, D.D. 

"The churches in Asia salute you." So wrote Paul from 
Ephesus to Corinth, from Asia to Europe, from one of the Seven 
Churches of Asia to the noble company forming the church in 
Two-Sea'd Corinth, the great commercial city sending out her 
ships East and West. Asia had become the mother of the 
churches in Europe and followed their fortunes with great affec- 
tion. The Aegean, so far from separating the two continents, 
really united them. Swift-footed messengers brought the gospel 
from the old world to the new, while faithful men and women 
carried on their persons the priceless epistles which united all 
the churches of the whole Roman Empire. In unity was their 
strength. The great divisions of the church were of European 
and not Asiatic origin. The great councils of the church were 
held for the most part in Asia, whence also came the great 
preachers, like Chrysostom and Basil, and the first martyrs whose 
chains the saints were wont to kiss. 

The early Christians of Europe soon showed a divisive spirit 
such as called out many of Paul's earnest pleas for unity as he 
begs the Philippians "to be of the same mind, having the same 
love, being of one accord, of one mind, doing nothing through 
faction or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind each counting 
other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own 
things, but each of you also to the things of others. Let this 
mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus." Yet he rejoices that 
though some preach Christ even of envy and strife even in every 
way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed. 
Christianity has survived its differences, whether they be pro- 
claimed by Paul or Apollos or Cephas. But better than all gifts 

of learning and eloquence is love, and the mightiest agency in 

273 



274 A WOEKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the conquest of the nations to the obedience of the gospel is the 
love that Asia proclaimed to Europe in the first Corinthian 
Epistle which has been sung round the world. 

It is gratifying to know that the churches in Asia still salute 
the churches in Europe and in America to whom in these days 
they owe their existence, and that the message is one of Chris- 
tian unity: "Be of the same mind in the Lord." These voices 
become most articulate during the present century. The Centen- 
ary Missionary Conference in China, in celebrating the first 
hundred years since Morrison began in 1807, strongly affirmed 
"their desire only to plant one church in China under the sole 
control of the Lord Jesus Christ, governed by the Word of the 
living God, and led by his guiding Spirit." They fully recog- 
nized that without that aim China, with its growing national 
feeling, would leave the missionaries without their usual leader- 
ship. As early as 1862 there was formed in China a presbytery 
of missionaries from different societies. This grew to a Pres- 
byterian Council of the Churches of Christ in China and later to 
a union of the Presbyterian churches in China in six Synods 
called "The Council of Presbyterian Churches in China" in 
place of a General Assembly, which is only a question of time. 
In 1904 there was formed what was called The Presbyterian 
Church of India, and in 1907 the Union Presbyterian Church of 
Korea. It is creditable to the Southern Presbyterian missions 
that they have united with other Presbyterian workers in each 
of their foreign fields. What is called The South India United 
Church was formed in 1907 of Congregationalists and Presby- 
terian workers of whatever nationality. In Japan the Methodist 
missions both of Canada and of the United States united in 1907 
to form The Methodist Church of Japan, with a native Japanese 
Bishop chosen by the General Conference held in the interest of 
the new church. So that along the same general line of move- 
ment we rejoice to learn of a possible Baptist Church for China 
and a native Lutheran Church for India. 

But in West China a wider movement is planned for one Pro- 
testant church for West China, but before this is realized great 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 275 

progress will be made by the eight commissions appointed by the 
Centenary Missionary Conference of China to encourage the 
union of churches of the same ecclesiastical order. In China, 
Japan and Korea as well as in India there has been a whole- 
some movement in the direction of virtually uniting the educa- 
tional work of the several churches and also of the medical mis- 
sions. The wise philanthropy of the Eockefeller Foundation is 
already bearing fruit in unifying the medical schools on a 
worthy scale even for the great empire of China, while the 
Chinese government is seeking the help of the ablest missionaries 
in the broad new education adopted by the government. In the 
union of the publishing houses of the two Methodisms in China 
and the publishing of a Christian Advocate in common much 
advance is seen in the general movement for closer federation if 
not ultimate union of the two largest Methodist communions in 
the world. In the meantime the use of a common hymn book in 
West China, used by ninety per cent of all the Christians, and 
of another for Central China, and yet another for South China 
is teaching all to believe in the communion of saints which is 
essential to the Holy Catholic Church. 

The missionaries have long led in the matter of closer union 
of the churches, as when they gave us the week of prayer so 
widely observed throughout the world. The reflex influence of 
this spirit of unity was seen in the entering of the new mission 
fields as of the Philippines, when the great missionary societies 
agreed on a wise policy of cooperation from the first day of enter- 
ing the field, thus saving many of the mistakes of overlapping 
and competition that have marked missionary operations during 
the former century. Within two months after the battle of 
Manila it was agreed that the church in the Philippines should 
bear but one name with such added suffix as might distinguish 
each mission. The territory was also wisely divided so that each 
mission should become responsible for the evangelization of cer- 
tain well-defined areas. In other new fields, as Cuba and Porto 
Eico, it was agreed that only one Methodism should enter a given 
field; and in Brazil it was agreed that one Methodism should 



276 A WOKKING CONFEKENCE ON THE 

turn over all its work to the other having the larger and better 
established work in the Portuguese language, only the original 
cost of missionary money being made the basis of adjustment. 

Two years ago, when it was hoped that Carranza would soon be 
firmly seated as president of Mexico and give a stable govern- 
ment at an early date, a meeting representing the different mis- 
sionary boards, and as far as possible the different missionaries in 
Mexico, was held in Cincinnati to consider a wiser delimitation 
of territory and a better adjustment of the several missionary 
forces in the field. It is an opportune time to study anew the 
matter of wiser cooperation in that inviting field as it is to be 
entered afresh by the different boards, whose work has been so 
much hindered by the recent revolution. 

Now, while we rejoice in the spirit of unity and even of union 
that obtains in foreign fields, we ask if a divided church at 
home can be signally used to save the world. Thus in America 
we have 164 denominations and in Great Britain 183. Many 
of ours have been imported, but we still have nearly a score less 
than Great Britain, although we owe many of our 164 to the 
different nationalities of Europe who have brought their lan- 
guages as well as their churches with them to their adopted 
country. Now happily the day is at hand when we are ceasing 
to take these different denominations as such to our foreign fields, 
while the effect of the spirit of unity abroad is to reduce the 
number of denominations at home, or at least to bring about 
closer relations between them. Thus in Germany the members of 
the Established Church and the adherents of the Free Churches 
have come to work in greater harmony because of the coopera- 
tive work of their missionaries on foreign fields. This is doubt- 
less true of many of the leading denominations alike in Great 
Britain and in America, especially as seen in the Council of the 
Free Churches of England and in the Federal Council of the 
Churches of Christ in America. There is now an interchange 
of messages between the Federal Council of the Churches of 
Japan and The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in 
America. The latter represents 31 different denominations act- 



UNION 0$ AMERICAN METHODISM 277 

ing through representatives chosen by the supreme judicatories 
of seventeen million communicants and over 100,000 ordained 
ministers, aggregating over four fifths of the Protestants of 
America, being nearly all churches having over 100,000 mem- 
bers. 

But the foreign fields have shown more than mutual trust and 
close cooperation and even federation ; they have set the example 
in nine cases of the elimination of denominational lines. 
Three of these have been in Japan. Thus the episcopal churches 
of Great Britain and America are now one in Japan as in China. 
All the Presbyterian and Reformed bodies have been one in 
Japan for thirty years. The Methodists there have been organ- 
ically one for several years. The others are in India for the 
most part where Congregationalists, both English and American, 
have united with Presbyterian and Reformed Churches and the 
Calvinistic Methodists. 

What brought about such union of churches in heathen lands ? 
Men began to think more about religion in terms of the kingdom 
of God than of individual churches. They are not commissioned 
to extend their own church in terms of usage or polity or strict 
doctrinal statement, and so to import age-long doctrinal dif- 
ferences, but to disciple the nations by preaching the gospel to 
every creature. It was not simply that the divisions among 
Protestants were a barrier to success, for all aggressive, false 
religions, as Buddhism or Mohammedanism, have their many 
sects and so are accustomed to differences among themselves. It 
is that Protestant foreign missions alone represent 377 boards, 
24,092 foreign missionaries, and expend annually over $30,000,- 
000, without always working together in love or learning highly 
to esteem each other in love for their works sake. The impact 
of dense masses of heathenism has helped to overcome this. No 
one mission or group of missions has felt adequate to the work 
of evangelization of the world. The seeming impossibility of 
the task has led to greater faith in Christ as leader and in all 
who are workers together with him. Our Divine Lord, in giv- 
ing, an almost impossible command, sought to unite all his forces 



218 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

for its realization. All the arms of service are necessary in 
this great army of the Lord of hosts and none can say to any 
part of the body of Christ, "I have no need of thee." All true 
Christian missionaries belong to the Allies and form the army 
of conquest and occupation under Christ to whom the Father 
said, "Ask for me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine 
inheritance and the uttermost part of the earth for thy posses- 
sion." 

Moreover, as missionaries work together they discover more 
in what unites them than in what separates them. An attempt 
was made in one field that showed what was in common made 
the book, and what was different had room in a small appendix, 
and they agreed to disagree and to do without the appendix 
whenever it began to declare its existence. It was discovered 
that there were more different kinds of Presbyterians than 
there were different kinds of consecrated, zealous Christian saints, 
and the Presbyterians soon found their communion of saints 
with their fellowworkers in other churches. Thus the Presby- 
terians and Baptists (English) have united in one of the prov- 
inces of China because they found that they had more in com- 
mon than in what they differed, and are working in perfect 
accord. Each church after all finds as its supreme possession 
that which belongs to every other member of the body of Christ, 
just as the great things, like air and sunlight and earth and 
water, belong alike to all nations and men. No one dare claim 
a monopoly. So a great apostle wrote to the Corinthian saints, 
"All things are yours/' Ours in common is the divine Father- 
hood, ours the Lordship and Saviourhood of Christ, the atone- 
ment, the witness of the Holy Spirit, the communion of saints 
which makes the Holy Catholic Church, the forgiveness of sins, 
and the life everlasting — substantially the whole body of essen- 
tial Christian truth. Ours, too, are the great missionaries from 
the beginning, Catholic or Protestant, whether Xavier or Martyn, 
Judson or Duff, and under the inspiration of their heroic faith 
we dare attempt great things for God because we ask great things 
of God. Much more have the home churches in common the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 270 

great body of missionaries, men and women of all churches and 
all fields, the noble triumphs in all lands of our conquering 
gospel under the leadership of our Christ who is head over all 
things to his church. 

We are not divided, 

All one body we, 
One in hope and doctrine, 

One in charity. 

It is being recognized that the very life of the church is 
its missionary spirit. It is not essential that any church be 
Presbyterian or Baptist or Methodist, but it is essential that it 
be missionary. The church was missionary from the beginning 
when there was no distinct missionary society. The whole 
church laid their hands on the heads of the apostles Paul and 
Barnabas and sent them forth. When the missionary zeal abated 
in the early church, it was continued in the hearts of great saints 
who were the very salt of the church and who led the way by 
their example and sacrifices. The movement then became na- 
tional as representing the state in following up its colonists with 
religious privileges. Then came the day of missionary societies 
which do an excellent work, but they are apart from the church 
and represent not over a fifth, or even a tenth, of the church, 
yet this fifth or tenth represents the life of the church because 
it is missionary. We need that the whole church again become 
missionary and not simply one tenth or one fifth. It is the 
unleavened part of the church that hinders the true spirit of 
unity in the churches at home. They that work together for 
the salvation of the heathen are those who work together for the 
salvation of the unevangelized at home. The impact of the 
unsaved needs to be felt by the whole church and by all the 
churches to make their common efforts to abound in the true 
spirit of unity, for the salvation of men whether at home or 
abroad. 

It is the power of the gospel in foreign lands that is invoked 
to save home lands. Those who labor best together on the firing 



280 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

line set us the example of like devotion at home. Denomina- 
tional lines are forgotten in great evangelistic efforts where the 
one consuming passion is to save souls. Until we have that we 
need not only to confess ourselves "miserable sinners" according 
to the ritual, but according to the standards of common sense 
"miserable fools" as well. The glow of revival fires makes the 
faces of all saints look alike with the family resemblance of the 
sons of God. The worst disloyalty to the past as regards our 
denominations is to mistake the past for the future. Our de- 
nominational life is valueless that does not exalt Christ as Lord 
of all. 

If Christians are somewhat wedded to certain distinctive doc- 
trines or forms of ecclesiastical polity, these are confessedly few. 
If we deem that the work of the Lord's church can best be done 
under the Episcopal or Presbyterian or Independent form of 
government, why not reduce to these three forms of polity the 
countless numerous subdivisions that adhere to these forms until 
the various united bodies may themselves merge into a common 
church with what each can contribute of its own life and govern- 
ment? In times of famine or flood or earthquake Christians of 
all faiths and polities do not stop to discover whether they 
should cooperate, but by a common impulse forget themselves in 
the urgent need. So let it be in the work of saving the souls of 
men. Paul showed himself the statesman in discerning the duty 
and power of Christianity to unite men. The need of our day 
is for Christian statesmen and men who are true apostles of unity 
because they have the vision of the sons of God. Such apostles 
of unity will never lack a following as men respond more and 
more to the mind of Christ. Without such statesmen in the 
home churches the churches formed in foreign fields must and 
should look for other leaders. 

It is true that we occasionally find in the foreign field a mis- 
sionary who seems incapacitated to work with others. His work 
is best done alone and with little cooperation sought from those 
even of his own mission. The man of this type creates a desert 
rather than an oasis about him. Perhaps the best work he can 



tJNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 281 

do for the mission is to retire in favor of those who can work 
together. Not to comprehend with all saints is usually not to 
comprehend at all. The same type also appears in the home 
churches and he hinders more than he helps in the real work of 
the church. Because he cannot fit into the constructive work 
of the church his influence is greatly diminished and his useful- 
ness disappears. Such a man belongs to a past rather than to 
the present and above all to the future. At best, with such 
workers, whatever of union is possible is by compromise rather 
than by comprehension. He weakens the walls of Zion and not 
really strengthens them, as he ever looks at his own things and 
not at the things of others. 

Our Lord had faith in the perfectibility of man and so did 
Paul. Our Lord taught that every one of his disciples "when he 
is perfected should be as his teacher" (Luke 6. 40). The mani- 
fested imperfections of his apostles did not hinder him from 
using them to help make men perfect. In ascending on high his 
gifts to men, his coronation gifts, were apostles, prophets, evan- 
gelists, pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints 
unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the body 
of Christ, till we all attain the unity of the faith, and of the 
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the 
measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we may be 
no longer children. The true ground of missionary effort is 
not simply the command of our Lord, but it is Christ himself. 
We dare not divide Christ or keep for ourselves God's unspeak- 
able gift. The more we apprehend Christ, the more we will seek 
to share him, and the more will we become one in sharing him. 
Christ's prayer for us was that we may be perfected into one, that 
the world may know that the Father had sent him. It was not 
that we might become one in the Father and the Son, but that 
we might be in them. If we abide in God, if we possess the 
spirit of true consecration, having no other will than Christ's, 
we will have the essential conditions of true service which will 
accomplish our unity one with another even as the Father is in 
Christ and the Son in the Father. 



282 A WOEKING CONFEEENCE ON TliE 

The details of our common unity we may leave with the Father 
and the Son, who will use us to accomplish the holy purposes of 
his will, lest by our willfulness and self-seeking we may haply 
be found to be fighting against God. Nearness to God in Christ 
is our supreme need. Where is our Christ to-day? Men cry, 
"Back to Christ," but Christ is not back there. Why seek ye 
the living among the dead ? Eather, forward to Christ, to Christ 
on the firing line where he has promised to be and where we 
hear him cry, "Close up ! close up 1" as we close ranks for the final 
conquest. The firing line unites us to the Lord of hosts and to 
one another. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 283 



THE PROBLEM : WORK ON FOREIGN FIELDS 
John F. Goucher, D.D. 

I. There are four Miao bovs, children of half civilized abo- 
rigines from the Province of Kwei-Chow, at the Chentu Middle 
School preparing to enter the West China Union University. 
Captivated by the gospel of personality as revealed in the Bible, 
embodied in the missionary, and taught in their little mission 
school, they yielded themselves to Christ in sincere consecration 
and their souls were fired with a passion for Christian education 
— that training, development, and coordination of all the facul- 
ties essential to the full measure of reasonable service. 

They illustrate the dynamic of the gospel. Christianity is 
essentially educative. This is clearly set forth in precept and 
example by Christ, "a Teacher come from God." W T hen he first 
announced the world-inclusive program of his Kingdom, Jesus 
took "a little child and set him in the midst" of his church as 
its hope and responsibility; and when he was about to close his 
earthly ministry in the flesh, he commanded his disciples, "Go 
ye into all the world" and "teach all nations." 

Sin is a form of ignorance. The divine passion to be known 
begets in the redeemed soul an insatiable desire to know. In 
the purpose of God, Christian education and evangelization are 
mutually dependent and as inseparable as heat and light in the 
rays of the sun. In fact, Christian education is the initial, 
necessary, underlying condition of evangelism; the farthest 
reaching, most prophetic, most efficient, and most permanent 
form of gospel propaganda; essential to the realization of "the 
measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." The acceptance 
of Christianity, if loyally adhered to, necessarily demands and 
surely develops the Christian college, as is manifest in every suc- 
cessful mission field. 



.284 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

All missions are responding to this necessary demand and 
giving increasing attention to education. Those which have been 
least interested have been least prosperous. The society having 
the largest force of missionaries in China has given but scant 
encouragement to education. With over 18 per cent of all the 
Protestant missionaries in China, it has less than 6 per cent of 
the scholars in the Christian schools, and consequently, less than 
4 per cent of the ordained native preachers with only about 7 per 
cent of the communicants; while another society, which has 
stressed Christian education, with less than 5 per cent of the 
foreign missionary staff but registering 18 per cent of the 
scholars in the Christian schools, has more than 43 per cent of 
the ordained native preachers and over 12 per cent of the com- 
municants. 

The growth of Christianity in the foreign missionary fields 
during the decade and a half of the present century is a colossal 
but logical challenge to the home churches to strengthen and 
extend their facilities of developing Christian lives. 

During the first three years, after the Boxer outbreak, the 
increase in Protestant communicants in China was more than 
the total enrollment of all the churches in 1879 — seventy-two 
years after the arrival of Robert Morrison. During the next 
three years, from 1904 to 1907, the increase in the number of 
communicants was 60,581, or more than the entire enrollment 
at the end of the first ninety years of mission work in the empire. 
This rate of progress, approximately, has been maintained, and 
China is not exceptional in this particular. 

There were added to the Protestant churches in Korea an aver- 
age of one convert every hour, day and night, during the first 
quarter of a century from the arrival of the first missionary. 
For several months past, the increase has averaged three thou- 
sand per week, or eighteen for every hour. 

A mass movement in India has been in progress for several 
years, spreading far beyond the ability of the missionaries to 
meet more than a small fraction of its demand for instruction, 
guidance, and conservation. "Methodism has a waiting list of 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 285 

150,000 who cannot be received because there is no one to shep- 
herd them." 

More than 90 per cent of all the converts in these fields are 
illiterate — not willfully so, nor from lack of capacity, but illiter- 
ate because there is no opportunity accessible for even their rudi- 
mentary instruction; hence the tremendous, unavoidable neces- 
sity for greatly increased facilities for Christian education. 

Added to this is the cry from other mission fields, and the 
insistent demand for other and varied essentials for the church 
propaganda, so that every board of foreign misions in the home 
lands has been staggered by the responsibilities, possibilities, and 
crisal demands confronting it — the natural demands of success 
in their foreign fields upon the home churches. 

II. The enormous and rapidly growing demands of developing 
Christian communities in non-Christian lands — demands created 
by the Holy Spirit as fruitage of and testimony to the preach- 
ing of the Word of Life — challenged the home churches to honor 
God by providing for this emergency; that is, to justify the 
aspirations and hopes begotten through the message they had 
sent, and to realize their joint heirship with Christ by fellowship 
with him in service and sacrifice. 

Born of this obligation to respond to the call of God from the 
foreign field, the Laymen's Missionary Movement was launched 
a decade ago. In 1909-10 it swept across the continent with a 
series of great foreign missionary conferences, and through the 
vision and quickening these brought to the churches, registered 
a very large contribution to the advance of the Kingdom. 

1. It brought together representatives of the various churches 
into cooperative planning and activity. Together they studied 
the common need and together they faced a common responsi- 
bility, which together they planned to meet. Thus leading 
members of the various denominations came to know each other, 
to respect each other's achievements, to rejoice together in God's 
blessing upon their diverse activities, and to sympathize with 
each other's problems. Seeing their denominational differences 
in perspective, they awoke to the consciousness that they were 



2M A WOKKJNG CONFERENCE ON THE 

only members of the body of Christ in particular; that there is 
but one all-inclusive problem to be solved, only one ultimate 
objective to be realized, and that this must be compassed by united 
effort. This revelation wrought mightily through the churches 
for the unity of the Spirit. It set the standard and established 
the trend. Since that memorable series of conferences, there has 
been far less of the divisive spirit and destructive competition in 
the church of Christ than in any similar period of its history, for 
''suspicion, misunderstanding, and divisions disappear under the 
fusing power of a unified task." 

2. The laymen were brought to ^/-consciousness, which is the 
primary fact in personality. The layman came to recognize that 
he is as essentially and organically a part of the church of Jesus 
Christ as the clergyman. Under the dispensation of the Spirit, 
the "kingdom of God" is to be a nation of those who are both 
priests and kings. There is no exclusive order, though there is 
a differentiation in offices. There is no primacy except the 
primacy of Christ-likeness. There is no prerogative but the pre- 
rogative of service. Both the layman and the clergyman have 
duties in common, clearly defined, which may not be voided, 
delegated to nor assumed by another. All are "called to be 
saints" and "laborers together with God." For the layman con- 
sciously to say "I am," marks a great advance for world con- 
quest. He who says "I am," must say "I will," for psycholog- 
ically self-consciousness is followed by self-interpretation, or it 
becomes atrophied. 

The layman was helped to sec that the call of God was for 
his personal service, not for a fraction of some form of his pos- 
sessions; that God's right is the right of eminent domain, "His 
authority is over all"; that he seeks not yours but you; that 
the wealth one has accumulated is far inferior to the ability — 
the sum total of his personality — by which it was built up; and 
that one's gift, to be acceptable unto God, must be accompanied 
by the personal influence, devotion, and self interpretation 
through which it was acquired. 

So it has conic to pass that the administrative boards of the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 287 

churches have been and are being greatly strengthened by the 
increased devotion of the laymen and the contribution of their 
varied experiences and their business sagacity to the affairs of the 
church. They are bringing the challenge of efficiency to every 
church organization, and each must justify its procedure as 
never before, if it would receive continued and increasing co- 
operation. In many of them radical changes in polity and policy 
have resulted to their enlarged usefulness. 

No business house could remain solvent, and permit indefinite 
duplication and overlapping of its activities; accurate standard- 
ization of the output and agencies is fundamental to confidence 
and permanent extension of any business; while carefulness in 
detail and economy in administration are essentials to prosperity. 
These principles have been written large in the financial, manu- 
facturing, commercial, and transportation combinations of the 
world. "That is not first which is spiritual, but that which is 
natural; then that which is spiritual." 

The spirit of unity in closest cooperation has had a carnal 
interpretation on every hand. It has asserted itself in material 
and temporal affairs, and prepared the churches to recognize its 
fundamental necessity. This is revealed through Christ, insisted 
upon in the Bible, has been taught in the churches, and its 
installation, though delayed, is having insistent advocacy, and 
is being quickened by the awakened laymen as a business essen- 
tial in spiritual things. Jehovah is the God of order and not a 
God of confusion. The churches in America are seeking to 
mobilize and utilize their varied resources and hitherto unrecog- 
nized possibilities and possessions through cooperative activities 
as never before. 

3. This enlisting of the layman's personality is realizing, 
through organized cooperative service, efficiency of administra- 
tion and increased financial resources. The contributions in 
America for foreign missions in the six years preceding the 
laymen's great missionary campaign were $52,726,590, but dur- 
ing the six years since that series of conferences they have aggre- 
gated $93,522,275, or an increase of about 68 per cent. That 



288 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

is, an increase of over 11 per cent a year, or the remarkable 
advance of nearly one per cent a month. 

Accompanying and contributing to this increase of money 
are the careful studies which have been made of the unoccupied 
and over-occupied fields, the problems involved and the methods 
of productive procedure; the notable economies of administra- 
tion, the courageous eliminations of wasteful competition and 
unnecessary duplication, and the development of comprehensive 
policies for a more orderly and consequential prosecution of the 
whole task. These are, in part at least, evidences of reaction 
from the extraordinary demands of the foreign fields upon the 
"home base" which has contributed largely to the spirit of unity. 

III. The development in the home churches of a quickened, 
aggressive, spiritual life, fuller personal consecration, better 
business methods, with efficiency standards demanding unity of 
effort have their response and counterpart in the foreign field. 
Farther reaching, more constructive, and more potential than 
either the war in Europe or the governmental changes in China 
is the vitalizing influence of the Word of God and the changing 
interpretations of Christian ministry in the Far East. 

Xo fact is more outstanding in China to-day than the comity, 
the cooperation, the unity both in spirit and interpretation of 
Christian ministry. There are occasional exceptions of self- 
centered exclusiveness which reflect the spirit of old China, and 
are an archaic inheritance from the mediaeval church, but these 
accentuate the trend and progress of twentieth-century Chris- 
tianity toward fulfilling the prayer of our Lord for unity. The 
forces which contributed so largely in arousing old China, leaven- 
ing her thought with new ideals, and securing that healthy unrest 
which made possible her development, are still and increasingly 
at work. This is emphasized in the new patriotism and the new 
nationalism, but particularly in the interpretation of Christian 
ministry as a higher loyalty and a super-nationalism. 

Previous to about half a decade ago, the objective of mission- 
ary activity was individualistic. The missionary sought to in- 
doctrinate the individual, and persuade him to accept Christ for 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 289 

his personal salvation. The appeal was narrow and selfish, that 
he might be exempt from punishment, free from sorrow, and 
receive personal blessings. All these are incidental to the new 
life, for "the wages of sin is death," "He that believeth shall be 
saved," "No good thing will he withhold from him that walketh 
uprightly." Salvation is always personal, "warning every man 
and exhorting every man," and this individual work is carried 
on with no abatement. But the new emphasis is on another and 
larger objective. While the individual appeal is, if possible, 
with more urgency, it is not as the consummation of salvation, 
but as a means to enlargement of ministry, as a preparation for 
more efficient and broader service; as a call to become a larger 
asset in one's family, an evangel in the community, a dependable 
and constructive citizen in the nation. "No man liveth to him- 
self," and the new emphasis is not a call to be a pensioner, but 
a call to stewardship. It does not present Christianity as a 
pauperizing gratuity, appealing to selfish love for ease and 
safety, but as a commission for service and sacrifice to the 
courageous and innate spirit of ministry. It does not stress 
personal redemption from the blight, sorrow, and ignorance of 
sin as an individualistic inheritance or selfish endowment; it 
quadrates the subject of salvation with an enlarged and enlarging 
horizon. The outstanding objective of missionary activity as 
stressed to-day is communistic, and looks toward China's trans- 
formation into a Christian nation. 

This response to the "new command," "that ye love one an- 
other" as the test of discipleship ; this exaltation of loyalty to 
the Kingdom of God rather than slavery to a form of doctrine 
or method of interpretation; this enthronement of the spirit of 
Christ through loving cooperation in answer to his prayer for 
the unity of believers; this higher loyalty and super-nationalism. 
find expression — 

1. In interdenominational cooperation in education. This 
is securing efficiency, economy, and extension of education and 
evangelism, through unity of spirit and effort. The National 
Continuation Committee Conference held in Shanghai, 1913, 



290 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

recom mended, without a dissenting vote, that for the present 
there should be three or not more than four Christian univer- 
sities established in China, interdenominational in management, 
strategically located, closely affiliated with the interdenomina- 
tional and denominational colleges to which they may be central, 
and with standardized high, intermediate, and primary schools 
as regular feeders for these various colleges. 

The spirit of this recommendation had been approved by the 
World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910, and was 
in process of realization in West China as early as 1905. In 
that year a Conference was held including the educators of all 
the mission boards working in that area. After investigations, 
conferences, and committee recommendations the "West China 
Educational Union" was organized. This is a live, constructive 
organization. It has a supervising relation to all the Christian 
schools of West China. Through its educational secretary and 
central committee, it sets the examinations, certifies to the 
quality of each scholar's work, authorizes promotions, conducts 
school visitations, and during vacations conducts teachers' insti- 
tutes and normal classes among the 257 standardized schools, 
with their over ten thousand scholars, which have been articu- 
lated with the university system. This is more than half of the 
Christian schools, including about two thirds of the scholars in 
West China. Other schools are being standardized, and are 
availing themselves of the benefits of the system as rapidly as 
they can meet the requirements. The educational secretary 
directs the university extension lectures, and serves two months 
of each year as professor in the Normal College of the University 

The West China Union University is located strategically to 
the 93,000,000 Chinese in the three Provinces of West China 
in Chengtu, their civic, military, literary, and social center. It 
furnishes an objective, determines the standards, and gives direc- 
tion to Christian education for that area. Its arts, medical, theo- 
logical, and normal departments are in successful operation ; it 
has been accorded government approval, has acquired about 120 
acres of land just outside the south gate; nineteen of its perma- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 291 

nent buildings are completed or in process of construction, and 
eight Or ten more are provided for. With its 257 standardized 
and articulated schools, together with its organized agencies 
for supervision and extension, taken as a unit in the developing 
system of Christian education in China, it is successfully work- 
ing its "quarter section" in the spirit of the prayer of Christ, and 
according to the new program of awakened laymen in the home 
churches. It justifies large hope for native Christian leadership 
and evangelization. 

This is typical of the other great educational institutions. 
They have similar programs, with modifications, and to a 
greater or less degree are organizing their particular areas for 
cooperative development. There are more than fifty interde- 
nominational schools of various grades in China permeated by 
this spirit. 

2. The unifying and constructive influence of interdenom- 
inational cooperation is being strengthened and steadily extended 
by many and various other Christian organizations, such as : 
The Educational Association of China, with its Advisory Council 

and Educational Review (published quarterly). 
The National Secretary of Christian Education. 
The West China Educational Union. 

The East China Educational Association, and the East China 
Educational Union, for the three Provinces of Anhui, 
Kiangsu, and Chekiang, with distinct but cooperative work. 
The Provincial and Municipal Educational Associations, of 
which there are many. In some of these, the teachers of 
the Christian schools and the teachers of the government 
schools are associated together, and have a joint "committee 
to promote united effort." 
The China Medical Association and the national secretary of 
the China Medical Association. This organization, includ- 
ing 435 medical missionaries, lias petitioned the Foreign 
Missions Conference of America to set apart and maintain 
one man, to represent all the medical work and give all his 
time to finding and counseling with medical men for China. 



v>92 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

The Korean Medical Association, with its thirty-four medical 

missionaries auxiliary to the China Medical Association. 
The China Sunday School Union and its National Secretary. 
The Provincial Sunday School Societies. 
The Bible Study Committee. 

The Committee of Bible Study Curriculum for Schools. 
The various Tract Societies. 
The Christian Literature Societies. 

These six organizations, with some other societies with similar 
objects are studying together to devise a method of more 
united effort and management, each having denned but 
coordinated work. 
The Committee of Christian Education in the Mission Field, of 
the Edinburgh Continuation Committee, is registering a 
large consultative and cooperative influence in the unifica- 
tion and development of the Christian education system for 
the republic. 
The China Continuation Committee. 
The British and Foreign Bible Society. The American Bible 

Society. 
The Young Men's Christian Association, the Young Women's 
Christian Association, and many other interdenominational 
or union organizations, with their secretaries, committees, 
conferences, publications and other agencies move together 
with their special impact, and contribute their steady uplift 
to the unifying of Christianity in the Far East. The trend 
of these varied and continuous influences is in one direc- 
tion and can hardly be over-estimated. 
3. No form of church life is more central to the influences 
making for unity of spirit and interpretation than American 
Methodism. T submit herewith a list (see Note A) of union 
institutions and organizations in the foreign Mission fields, to- 
gether with the churches which are affiliated in each. This list 
includes none but those with which some branch of American 
Methodism is officially identified. While it numbers over 140 
institutions or organizations, I regret it is not complete. Owing 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 293 

to my absence at the Latin American Congress at Panama, I was 
unable to ascertain which of the other churches were associated 
with the Methodists in a number of cases, or the list would have 
reached well towards two hundred. Not one of all these would 
have been possible of initiation or maintenance without the 
official or tacit approval of the governing boards in the home 
lands. This is suggestive of a steady reaction, wide, varied, con- 
structive, and cumulative in the direction of unity. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, and the Methodist Church of Canada have com- 
bined in the Methodist Church of Japan. A similar movement 
is being discussed in China. 

IV The details of administration in the West China Union 
University are committed to a University Senate, but its control 
is vested in the Board of Governors, resident in the home lands. 
This board meets annually for from three to five days, in the 
United States, Great Britain, or Canada alternately, and its 
executive committee meets more frequently. The growth of 
comity among its members is most notable. 

The Central Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
for Eastern Asia, held in Nanking in November last, unani- 
mously memorialized the General Conference to be held at Sara- 
toga in May next to unite China, Japan, and Korea into one 
episcopal area, with three resident superintendents, and there is 
a strong desire that "the episcopal area of Eastern Asia" shall 
include the Philippine and the Malay Conferences, with four 
resident general superintendents, if need be, thus giving all the 
yellow races the benefit of one united and efficient administra- 
tion. The consummation of this ideal would be the evidence of 
real statesmanship. It would strengthen the highest loyalty and 
si^er-nationalism, and be a great stride toward an ecumenical 
Methodism. 

Many of the interdenominational institutions and organiza- 
tions have a similar form of management. The responsibility 
for determining their general policies and principles of admin- 
istration, for providing for their maintenance and development, 



v>!)4 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

toother with the many intricate problems involved, require the 
closest consideration and cooperation, and being located in 
boards of directors or joint committees in the home lands, has 
been a steady stimulus and tonic to the spirit of considerateness 
and mutual understanding. 

It was in conferences of foreign missions that the spirit of 
unity began to demand expression at home, and the foreign mis- 
sion platform is the only one thus far on which all the evangel- 
ical communions have agreed to unite interdenominationally. 
The Foreign Missions Conference includes 194 boards, societies 
and organizations of Canada and the United States, which are 
conducting missionary work in foreign lands. It meets annually 
for several days at Garden City to exchange experiences, hear 
reports, discuss problems, and suggest improved methods. Its 
"committee of reference and council," "missionary preparation," 
"unoccupied fields," and "home base committees" and others of 
similar nature are focusing expert study on the problems com- 
mon to all missions, and each has free access to the best that 
can be produced by the combined wisdom of all. 

This organization stimulated the organization of the Home 
Missions Council, which is composed of thirty home mission 
organizations and twenty denominations. Its object is to secure 
cooperation in meeting urgent needs. 

The Missionary Education Movement, the Student Volunteer 
Movement, the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in 
America, with its Commission on Federated Movements and 
other special committees. The Woman's Union Missionary 
Society of America; the Laymen's Missionary Movement, with 
national and international relations; comity commissions; civic 
systems of religious education; national and international Sun- 
day school societies; the Young Men's Christian Association; 
the Young Women's Christian Association and other organiza- 
tions are working with united effort along particular lines, and 
are developing a spirit-of-unity conscience, so it is coming to 
pass that Christian men hate to differ, and Christian comity is 
becoming a reality, internationally, nationally, and locally. God 



UNION Otf AMERICAN METHODISM 295 

made man's body and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, 
and thus it seems through organized, cooperative activities the 
body is being prepared for the inspiration of the Spirit of Love, 
Efficiency, Unity. 

Traditions, habits, prejudices and spiritual inertia anchor 
non-progressives to the past and hold the timid captive to the 
letter of the law, though they deprecate the bondage of legalism. 
The awakening church, like Saul of Tarsus, is crying, "Who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death?" What the law 
could not do in that it was weak, the Spirit is doing by the 
incoming of the new life and higher loyalty. Where the Spirit 
of God is, there is liberty. Come quickly, Lord, Jesus, that thou 
mayest see of the travail of thy soul and be satisfied — when the 
wounds of thy distracted church shall be healed and thy disciples 
shall be fused by the indwelling of the Spirit into one as the 
Father and thou are One. 

American Methodism in Union Enterprises on the Foreign Field 

china 

M. E. M., M. E. S., C. M. M., and M. P. M. all have work in China— 
M. P. M., however, being represented by its Woman's Board only, 
with missionaries in one station of Chihli Province. 
General Organizations 

China Continuation Committee, with subcommittees. 

Christian Literature Society. 

Educational Association of China. 

Medical Association of China. 

Evangelistic Association of China. 

Forward Evangelistic Movement of 1914. 

Sunday School Union. 

Bible Societies. 

Centenary Conference Bible Study Committee. 

Board of the Chinese Recorder. 
West China— M. E. M. and C. M. M. 

Delimitations of Territory between the Denominations. 

West China Christian Educational Union. 

Advisory Board of West China. 

Chengtu: West China Union University, Arts, Normal, Theological, 
Medical, M. E. M., C. M. M., A. B. F. M. S., and F. F. M. A. 



2!)G A WOKKINCJ CONFERENCE ON THE 

Union Normal School for Women. Same Boards. 
Union Language School for New Missionaries. 
Chungking: Union Middle School for Boys. C. M. M. and M. E. M. 
Union in Hospital Work in Chengtu and Chungking. C. M. M. 
and M. E. M. 
Chihli Province — M. E. M. and M. P. M. (Woman's Board at Kalgan). 
North China Educational Union. 

Peking: Union University (Prospective). A. B. C. F. M., A. P. M., 
L. M. S., and M. E. M. Arts, Theological, Medical. 
Union Woman's College. Same Denominations. 
Union Medical College for Women. M. E. M., A. B. C. F. M., 

and A. P. M. 
Union Nurses' Training School. M. E. M., A. B. C. F. M., and 
A. P. M. 

Language School for Missionaries. All the missions. 

School for Children of Missionaries. All the missions. 

Union Woman's Bible Training School. A. B. C. F. M., A. P. M., 

L. M. S., and M. E. M. 
Union Church for English-Speaking People. 
Tientsin: Union Church for English-Speaking People. 
Fukien Province — M. E. M. 

Educational Association of Fukien Province. 
South Fukien Missionary Conference. 

Foochow: Union College of Arts and Sciences. M. E. M., A. B. C. 
F. M., and C. M. S. 
Union Theological Seminary. Same. 
Union Medical School. Same. 

Normal School for Boys. M. E. M. and A. B. C. F. M. 
Kindergarten Training School. M. E. M., A. B. C. F. M., and 
C. M. S. 
Kiangsu Province — M. E. M. and M. E. S. 
Kiangsu Provincial Federation Council. 
East China Educational Association. For Kiangsu, Chekiang, 

Anhwei. 
East China Educational Union. For same. 
China Christian Advocate, published in Shanghai, weekly. M. E. M. 

and M. E. S. 
Nanking: 

Univ. of Nanking, Arts and Sciences. M. E. M., A. B. F. M. S., 

A. P M., and F. C. M. 
Univ. of Nanking, Agriculture. Same. 
Univ. of Nanking, Normal. Same. 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 297 

Univ. of Nanking, Medicine. M. E. M., A. B. F. M. S., A. P. M., 

S. P. M., F. C. M., M. E. S., and S. B. C. 
Nanking School of Theology. A. P. M., F. C. M„ M. E. M., 

M. E. S., and S. P. M. 
Ginling College. M. E. M., A. B. F. M. S., A. P. M., F. C. M., 

and M. E. S. 
Union Nurses' Training School. A. A. M., A. B. F. M. S., A. F. M., 

A. P. M., F. C. M., M. E. M., M. E. S., S. B. C, and S. P. M. 
Women's Bible Training School. A. A. M., A. F. M., A. P. M., 

F. C. M., M. E. M., M. E. S., and S. P. M. 

Huchow : 

Union Hospital Work. M. E. S. and S. B. C. 

Shanghai: 
Union School for Missionaries' Children. 

Union Publishing House. M. E. M. and M. E. S. (See also 
China Christian Advocate, listed above. Chinese Recorder, 
1915, states "The two Shanghai Pub. Houses [Meth. and 
Presb.] combine their book stores from May 1 in the 'Mission 
Book Company.' The China Tract Society and the Christian 
Literature Society are also considering joining this union.") 
Anhwei Province 
Wuhu: 

Union High School for Boys. M. E. M., F. C. M., and A. A. M. 

Chekiang Province 
Chekiang Federation Council. 

JAPAN 

C. M. M., M. E. M., M. E. S., and M. P. M.— all in Japan. 
Japan Methodist Church — Union of native churches under the 

C. M. M., M. E. M., and M. E. S. accomplished in 1907. 
Conference of Federated Missions. 
Federation of Churches in Japan (including the Church of Christ, 

the Kumiai churches, the Methodist Church and five smaller 

bodies). 
Japan Continuation Committee. 
National Evangelistic Campaign, 1913. 
Christian Literature Society of Japan. 
Bible Societies. 

Japan Book and Tract Company. 
Christian Educational Association of Japan. 
Woman's Christian Educational Association. 
Sunday School Association. 



v'!)8 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Union Publications: 

Christian Movement in Japan. 

Japan Evangelist. 

Christian Advocate, published by the branches of the Methodist 
Church. 

Union Hymnal, completed in 1903. 
Tokyo : 

Christian University (Prospective). 

Union Woman's College. 

Philander Smith Biblical Institute. M. E. M. and E. A. (Theol. 
Dept. of Aoyama Gakuin.) 

Union Language School for Missionaries. 
Kobe: 

Kwansei Gakuin. M. E. S. and C. M. M. 

Union Church for English-Speaking People. 
Yokohama: 

Union Church for English-Speaking People. 

KOREA 

M. E. M. and M. E. S. in this field. 
Delimitation of territory between the denominations. 
Federal Council of Protestant Evangelical Missions in Korea. 
Educational Federation. 
Korean Medical Missionary Association. 
Field Advisory Committee for Korea. 
Union Publications: 

Korea Mission Field. All the Missions. 

Korean Methodist Advocate. M. E. M. and M. E. S. 

Union Hymn Book. Published in 1906. 
Seoul: 

Chosen Christian College, Arts. A. P M„ M. E. M., and M. E. S. 

Union Meth. Theol. Seminary. M. E. M. and M. E. S. 

Bible Teachers* Training Institute. M. E. M., M. E. S., and A. P. M. 

Severance Union Medical College. A. P. M., C. P. M., M. E. M., 
M. E. S., P. C. A., S. P. G., and S. P. M. 
Pyengyang: 

Union High School. A. P. M., C. P. M., M. E. M., P. C. A., and 

S. P. M. 

Union High School for Girls. A. P. M. and M. E. M. 
Wonsan: 

Academy for Boys, high. C. P. M. and M. E. S. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 299 

PHILIPPINE ISLANDS 

M. E. M. in this field. 
Agreements as to division of territory made in 1898 and thereafter, 

between the various Boards, concerning the Philippine Islands 

Cuba, and Porto Rico. 
Evangelical Union of the Philippine Islands. All denominations, 

except P. E. 
Manila: 

Union Theological Seminary. A. P. M., M. E. M., and U. B. M. 
Dialect publications, Methodists and Presbyterians uniting. 
Dialect publications (different dialect), Methodists and United 

Brethren. 

LATIN AMERICA 

Mexico. M. E. M. and M. E. S. 
Conference held in Cincinnati June 30-July 1, 1914. Plans not yet 

put into effect. 
Union Sunday School Literature. M. E. M., M. E. S., A. P. M., 

S. P. M., and F. C. M. 
Union Evangelical Hymn Book, issued Feb., 1915. All denomina- 
tions. 
Mexico City: Union Church for English-Speaking People. 
Panama. M. E. M. 

Union Church of the Canal Zone, for English-Speaking People. 
Peru. M. E. M. 
An Evangelical Alliance formed between the M. E. M. and the 
Evangelical Union. 
Brazil. M. E. S. 

Rio de Janeiro: Union Church for English-Speaking People. 
Chile. M. E. M. 
Methodist and Presbyterian weekly papers in Santiago have united. 
Santiago : 
Bible Training School. Meth. and Presb. 
Union Church for English-Speaking People. 
Cuba. M. E. S. 
Agreement by which the M. E. M. entered Porto Rico and the 

M. E. S. Cuba. 
National Sunday School Association. 
Porto Rico. M. E. M. 
Delimitation of territory arranged when Boards first entered the 

island. 
Federation of Evangelical Churches, with a General Assembly 
and a representative Council meeting every two years. The 
most fully developed organization of the kind in Latin America. 



:;o<i A WORKING CONFERENCE 

INDIA 

M. E. M. in this field. 
National Missionary Council — outcome of Continuation Committee 

Conference, 1913. With Provincial Councils in the following sec- 
tions: Bombay, Mid-India, Bengal, and Assam, Madras, United 

Provinces, Punjab and Rajputana, Bihar and Orissa, Burma. 
National Missionary Society of India (Native). 
India Sunday School Union. 
Industrial Missionary Society (composed of industrial missionaries 

in all parts of India). 
Medical Missionary Association of India. 

Joint Boards of Management for Examination of Missionaries. 
Christian Literature Society for India and Ceylon. 
United Council on Work Among Young People. 

First All-India Conference of Indian Christians held Dec. 28-30, 1914. 
Christian College for Women, Madras. M. E. M., A. B. C. F. M., 

A. B. F. M. S., R. C. A., C. P. M., U. F. C. S., C. S. M., W. M. S., 

C. M. S., L. M. S., and C. E. Z. M. 
Local organizations of natives: 

Indian Christian Association, Bengal. 

Indian Christian Association, Bombay. 

Indian Christian Association, Madras. 
Local Associations of Missionaries, or Missionaries and Natives: 

South India Missionary Association. 

Mid-India Missionary Society. 

North-India Conference of Christian Workers. 

Gujarat and Kathiawar Missionary Conference. 

Bihar Missionary Union. 

AFRICA 

Triennial South African Missionary Conference. 



THE PROBLEM: 
WORK ON HOME FIELDS 

CLAUDIUS B. SPENCER, D.D., 
Editor of the Central Christian Advocate, Kansas City, Missouri 

THOMAS N. IVEY, D.D., 
Editor of the Christian Advocate, Nashville, Tennessee 

DR. I. GARLAND PENN, 
Freedmen's Aid Society, Cincinnati, Ohio 



THE PEOBLEM : WOEK ON HOME FIELDS 
Claudius B. Spencer, D.D. 

We agree that churches having the same origin, the same 
doctrines, the same polity (speaking in the large), and the 
same commission, ought not to waste their money and the life 
blood and energy of their men in hostilities among themselves. 
We are agreed that the moral sense of this age is such that 
churches as well as individuals are haled to judgment to give 
an account for deeds done in the flesh; that Methodist men 
should seriously propound to themselves the question which 
Swinburne asked, if after all the thorn of thorns in the crown 
of Jesus be not the conduct of Christian men. The problem of 
Organic Union is the problem of an undiscounted testimony; 
the problem of presenting such a front that the days will 
come back when the World will exclaim : "Behold how these 
Christians love one another." As things now are the attitude of 
Methodists towards each other in too many a place would pro- 
voke such words only from a Julian the Apostate or a Voltaire. 

When we survey the Methodisms in this land we see them 
occupying and competing in the same field and we see clearly, 
now, that it is because in times past they were in the grip of 
forces which, humanly speaking, were irresistible. Historical 
and psychological facts explain what has been — facts that let 
loose forces that could not be controlled by previous under- 
standings, the dead hand of the past being unable to reach across 
years of war and migration and natural selection to fix new and 
unforeseen conditions exactly as had been decided by the Fathers. 
But to-day, let me repeat what has been so ably demonstrated, 
we have no controversy over a past separation. It saved Method- 
ism in this land. Born in the South, but at that time president 
of Wesleyan University, in tears Stephen Olin said in effect that 
had the North taken a less decisive stand the people would have 

303 



304 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

abandoned us; had the South been subservient the pulpits and 
ehurehes would have closed in the faces of her ministry. We 
see that. And no less clearly we now see that other events were 
equally under psychological laws. No matter what the provok- 
ing cause, to-day the presence of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
is seen in Eastern Tennessee and the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, in Illinois. We see the Methodisms face to face 
in Kentucky, but when we read the tragic story of Kentucky, 
the inscriptions for example on that monument to the Kentucky 
soldiers in Gray and Blue who fought each other so desperately 
on the fields of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, we under- 
stand how both Methodisms simply had to stand face to face, 
altar against altar, in that State, the birthplace of Abraham 
Lincoln and of Jefferson Davis. But we are here to-day to invite 
Methodisms to clasp hands in Kentucky as the sons of Kentucky 
around the flag have already pointed the way. The ancient 
feud is dead; and God calls Methodism to repentance against 
any future waste of her strength and resources and blood in 
domestic hostilities. He calls her to a testimony, to that pri- 
mal charter of our founder : "If thy heart be as my heart give 
me thy hand." is it too much to say that His providence now 
makes it plain that hostilities, misspent moneys, altar smoking 
against altar, must hereafter be charged to a lack of conscience 
as well as to a lack of love? If we be truly agreed love will 
find the way. 

The problem of Organic Union in the Home Field suggests 
first of all a survey as to actual conditions. It is my conviction 
that such a survey, a stocktaking of these actual conditions and of 
the drift of things, will reveal that the closer organization of 
Methodisms in this land is not so impossible as has been feared. 

I have therefore sought to make two inquiries on somewhat 
of a large scale: (1) To what extent are the white episcopal 
Methodisms actually maintaining altar against altar: (<?) What 
is the feeling of the people concerned where this exists? As for 
the churches as corporate bodies, for a generation they have 
been declaring their belief in fraternitv ; and the General Con- 



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UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 305 

ference of the Church South in a dramatic and historic move- 
ment by unanimous rising vote has officially gone on record that 
the hour for union is now. I have found that the two Meth- 
odisms are jointly occupying territories from Montana and Ore- 
gon in the far Northwest through to Alabama and Florida in 
the far Southeast, 26 States in all. That is true, but there is a 
deeper question : To what extent are the churches in these areas 
actually overcrowding, elbowing into the same communities? 
And there is this question: To what extent may they be doing 
the work that the other is not doing ? Is there any condition of 
federation and mutual understanding? The survey presents a 
picture that is not altogether dismal. 

In the first place I have tried to throw the facts together in 
the form of charts, which will analyze the exact statistics, giv- 
ing the number of appointments, in an area commonly occupied, 
which are occupied by Methodist Episcopal pastors alone, the 
number occupied by Methodist Episcopal South pastors, the 
number occupied jointly, with the percentages in each case. I 
must confess that I have been greeted with some surprises and I 
fancy some surprises may be in store for others. 

Mr. Chairman: — This revelation scarcely connotes a warlike 
attitude. It gives us pause as to whether in reality we are war- 
ranted in accusing the men in these fields, the pastors so poorly 
paid and empty handed, and their little flock standing beside 
them, with being animated with a belligerent spirit. There may 
be an overhead state of war ; there may be a waste of the temple 
treasures; there may be a waste of the energy and blood of 
men; but do the percentages warrant us in describing these 
conditions as an attitude of war when out of 422 appointments 
in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, that vast empire of oppor- 
tunity, but 6 communities in one Conference, and but 18 in all 
are jointly occupied ? In our Georgia Conference we occupy but 
6 points in common with the Church South ; in the Denver area 
out of 174 cities and villages occupied by the two churches, 
the Church South occupies but 5 with ourselves; that is to say, 
but 3 per cent are occupied jointly. In all Kansas there are not 



306 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

more than five though some years back Kansas constituted an 
Annual Conference in the Church South. 

Taking up the areas we find these percentages of communities 
jointly occupied : Alabama, including the two Conferences of the 
Church South, five per cent; Alabama, five per cent; Arkansas, 
seven per cent; Blue Ridge, nine per cent; Central Tennessee, 
five per cent; Colorado, three per cent; Georgia, two per cent; 
Illinois, three per cent; Kansas, one per cent; Florida, six per 
cent; California, including Pacific, Los Angeles Conferences and 
Arizona Mission, ten per cent; Columbia, four per cent; Holston, 
forty-four per cent. And the border Conferences, Maryland, 
nineteen per cent; West Virginia, forty-three per cent; Ken- 
tucky, thirteen per cent; Missouri, fifteen per cent; Oklahoma, 
twelve per cent. Only about one per cent of the places occupied 
by Methodisms in this land are jointly occupied. We see, 
therefore, that the percentage in areas jointly occupied is small. 

A comparative survey of statistics in terms of five years shows 
the gradual evaporation of appointments which, once logical and 
praiseworthy, are no longer a vital necessity. "In age and feeble- 
ness extreme" they await their demise. To some, kept on their 
feet by missionary appropriations with no constituency to speak 
of and no longer any reasons for continued existence, there might 
be given a funeral from the text "By this time he stinketh, for 
he hath been dead four days/ 



>> 



(2) What is the feeling of the people actually concerned in 
this state of things where the two Methodisms are in common 
territory? 1 can speak here with a certain degree of knowledge. 
When President Stuart directed me to undertake this investiga- 
tion, I sent his questions to some 150 men, presiding elders and 
district superintendents, men near the ground where the com- 
mon people are, in those areas where the churches are working 
side by side. I recall but two that are defiant. Perhaps they 
had reason. Without exceptions the others call loudly for 
organic union. They exhibit a loyalty to a system hut not to 
its sentiment. They show a sorrow that neighbors and brothers 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 307 

should be separated by barriers of ecclesiasticism when between 
their consciences, their creed and their hearts there are no bar- 
riers at all. 

Please allow me to quote from two letters. I have said that 
in Colorado but 5 places out of 174 are occupied jointly. The 
Church South has 18 appointments in the Southern part of the 
State with 2 appointments in New Mexico. I had this letter 
from Doctor Henry M. Mayo, District Superintendent in 
Southern Colorado. He says, "We are actually cooperating 
in Colorado with the Southern brethren. I employed two 
members of the Southern Conference last year to serve ap- 
pointments lying near churches of their own, the Pastor serv- 
ing half time for them and half time for us, and reporting to 
both Conferences. This year they have taken one of my pastors 
to do work for them. Bishop Hendrix invited me into his 
cabinet while we made these adjustments in a most brotherly 
way." Doctor Mayo feels that it would be better for the King- 
dom of God if we could take over the work and for self-evident 
reason; for example, the salaries of the South pastors, with two 
receiving over one thousand dollars, yet average but $436, while 
ours are just under one thousand. In the far South the amounts 
of salaries change places. There is federation in the Denver 
area, and certainly there is concord. There is no state of war. 
The other letter is from a well-loved leader of the Church South, 
Doctor M. H. Moore, who has just retired from the Macon Dis- 
trict of Missouri. He says : 

Liberty, Mo., Jan. 7, 1916. 
Rev. C. B. Spencer, D.D., Kansas City, Mo. 

My Dear Doctor: Your letter of the 5th, forwarded from Macon, 
reached me this morning. 

I am profoundly convinced of the sin, the folly, and the waste of 
a divided Methodism in America. I happen to belong to the 
Southern church, but I have always believed that there was an 
essential unity in Methodism — or ought to be — and it has been no 
sorrow to me that my oldest daughter is the wife of a medical mis- 
sionary at Wuhu, China, under the auspices of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Board, nor that my oldest son — a member of the faculty of 
the University of Illinois — should be a member of the Methodist 



308 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Episcopal Church at Urbana. And yet it has been my fortune, 
since 1889, to live and work in a territory where the two Methodisms, 
one in doctrine, in experience, in tradition, in life, were competing 
for the ground, and by their very existence as separate bodies 
losing the field to other denominations. 

Where federation has been accomplished, my observation is that 
it has been wholesome, in every way helpful to the cause of religion, 
yet it has not been so unifying as would have been the case if 
there had been no feeling of surrender to another church by the 
minority. So long as the two churches exist as separate organiza- 
tions at all, there will continue to be a feeling among the minority 
in a federated church which is not for the best. They will think 
of themselves, more or less, as having been "swallowed up." 

The difficulties in the way of union are rather hard to define. 
They are not historical and political. It is often the case that the 
Southern church in a north Missouri town has more old Federal 
soldiers and Republicans in its membership than the Northern 
church has; and I have found these harder to come to an agreement 
to federate than those whom I expected to hold off for political and 
traditional considerations. On the other hand, the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church frequently has more Southern people in it, and 
Democrats, than the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has in the 
same town. Memphis, Mo., is an illustration. It is more southern 
than Memphis, Tenn. Yet the Methodist Episcopal Church has 
more of this element than the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
The great difficulty in federating is the existence of church property, 
the struggle that has been maintained for years to keep going, an 
unwillingness to "give up," and, above all, the feeling that the 
churches are not one but two. 

I am very sure that the overwhelming sentiment of our pastors 
and people is that Methodism should be united, yet each side is 
waiting for action on the part of those authorized to act. Each 
wants to be loyal. 

We are a long way from 1844. We are not even interested in the 
story of that day. Our country is united and has forgotten and 
buried its strife. There is a feeling everywhere that the perpetua- 
tion of a division in Methodism shows a lack of the Spirit of Christ: 
shows that Methodism does not rise even to the plane of patriotism; 
that it is not worthy of sane, sensible, earnest men, and certainly 
is not for the common good. 

Then, too, our lack of union reaches to our mission fields beyond 
the seas. I wish I could lay my hands on a good letter I had some 
months ago from Bishop Lewis in China. He had been telling me 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 309 

his appreciation of my son-in-law and daughter, and rejoicing over 
the action of our General Conference at Oklahoma City, and ex- 
pressed the hope and prayer of the missionaries that we might be 
one in fact as out there they were one in heart. 

Wishing that I could be with you at Bvanston, I am, 

Very sincerely yours, 

M. H. Moobe. 

There is no smell of fire in these letters. I have scores like them 
in the making of this survey. 

Mr. Chairman, I have found that there is a state of war 
in some communities; but it is a war not upon each other, but 
upon the state of things that compels good men, good neighbors, 
Methodists, to act as if they were not friends ; to separate and go 
to different altars to offer their sacrifices. Powerful laymen in 
both churches are restive. Loyalty restrains them; but they 
ask that the law-makers shall make it possible for them to wor- 
ship side by side. 

Some letters are not so. The writers of some are hurt by 
slights or by stinging opposition; some rattle the saber in the 
scabbard, but taking them all this is negligible. I presume there 
will be opposition. Good and honest but mistaken men, true 
men but belated men, who happen to be leaders but who may not 
happen to be gentlemen, will make trouble or imagine trouble. 
Some have had wounds without cause — wounds unhealed. I do 
not find fault with any of them, but let us not stop the proces- 
sion too long to parley even with good men — certainly not with 
belated or even injured men. As for the other type, those with 
hay on their horns — and they are not all in any one pasture — let 
us be charitable, but let us move ahead. One thing impressed in 
the replies : it was a prayer that something might come of this 
Conference to-day. There was a repeated statement that they 
would pray for this conference. I doubt not, Mr. Chairman, 
that at this instant prayers are sending heavenward for this 
meeting. We can afford to venture forth. Phalanxes of prayers 
move up behind our backs; we are not alone. 

• ••••• 

(3) To what extent has federation been a success? I have 



310 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

asked this from many sections. One Southern elder, who may 
perhaps have given more than he has received, says it has worked 
well. I have tables showing how it has been successful — and 
unsuccessful. But this is borne in upon me from this survey; 
Federation is not a solution for the problem; because loyalty is 
a strong element in character: and so long as the denomina- 
tions exist in a given area the members of the respective denomi- 
nations will feel it a matter of conscience to be loyal to past asso- 
ciations. The people are not pawns; they cannot be traded as 
sheep. Accordingly, so long as the denominations exist in the 
same general area federation can never be anything more than 
a partial solution, satisfactory here and there in given congre- 
gations, but subject to idiosyncrasy, and at best incapable of 
operation even when a third party might immediately say it was 
wise. No; so long as federation is the only remedy proposed 
for altar against altar the fires will smoke, missionary money will 
be appropriated, ministers will be sent to commit suicide on 
three, four, or five hundred dollars a year. 

This survey has convinced me that federation as a solution of 
altar against altar has come to a standstill, pending the overhead 
action of the Methodisms within the next few years — aye, almost 
within the next few months. The solution of the problem before 
us is a unifying of the entire body of Methodists in this land. 
Unification in spots collects no disease that is a blood disease. 
A sort of despair will settle down on the people if this providen- 
tial opportunity is let slip. We may expect hostilities because 
then it will be a settled policy that we cannot be friends. 

"State frankly the difficulties in the way of federation or 
organic union in the home fields." Perhaps I have stated al- 
ready the difficulties in the way of federation or cooperation in 
the home fields. The whole pressure of ecclesiastical expansion is 
naturally against federation. The pride of ancestry, temper, the 
fear of the statistical column in the annual minutes, human 
nature, are all against what at best are half-way measures. 

But "what are the obstacles of organic union ?" There we 
rise into a higher realm. The pivotal difficulty in the way of 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 311 

organic union is the fear of absorption on the part of the lesser 
body, great as that body is. I do not mean absorption of numbers. 
We will all be absorbed in a reconstructed church. I refer to 
the absorption by a federal government, as it were, of the inherent 
rights of its component parts. Methodism is connectional ; but 
it is un-American if it does not conserve the personality and 
the prerogatives of its component parts. Systems of local 
legislatures alone can do that. The proposed plan is based on 
that ideal. Though I do not see in this proposed plan a real 
solution, I plainly see that the ideal is correct and necessary. In 
fact, it is necessary to any union that is vital and not mechan- 
ical. It is necessary, I may say, as the first step to any organic 
union at all. 

There are other obstacles — some academic, some racial, some 
structural; but those obstacles are not walls; and if they were, 
even the walls of Jericho fell. They are not stronger than the 
will of God and the creative genius of his Son. Lafferty, the 
brilliant penman of the Eichmond Advocate, said to me at the 
Dallas General Conference that tunnels and bridges are the great 
unifiers. We understand as we become acquainted. When I 
think of the friendships that already exist between the men of 
the North and the men of the South, the friendship that Arthur 
Edwards had for a certain editor, later a bishop, who fought 
with swords and shields that struck fire like flint, but who, in 
the deep things of the spirit, sorrowed together and strengthened 
each other's hands; when I think of the friendship of McCabe 
and Galloway — I will not name the living I see in this presence 
— I am sure that it is time we became one in hand as we should 
be already one in heart. 



I'A-i A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



THE PROBLEM: WOKK ON HOME FIELDS 
Thomas N. Ivey, D.D. 

One tragic fact in the history of episcopal Methodism in the 
United States is not that the integral body became two sections 
in 1844, but that the dividing line became a yawning gulf instead 
of a mere ecclesiastical difference. I do not like to use the word 
"gulf" on this distinctly irenic occasion, but it is the only word 
that fits the fact. This gulf from the beginning yawned wide 
and deep. Its width and depth have been revealed in the pas- 
sion-fires which blazed in the opposing camps of those who had 
been brethren in deed as well as by profession. Across the gulf 
the contestants have shouted their defiance, and the echoes with 
exciting effect have rolled throughout the length and breadth of 
the land, and those echoes are still heard. 

Since 1844, the history of episcopal Methodism in the United 
States has been largely shaped and colored by the fact and influ- 
ence of that gulf. That history may be divided into three 
periods, each receiving its name and character from the peculiar 
attitude assumed at the time by either branch of Methodism 
to the other in respect to that gulf. In the first period the work 
of bridging the gulf was begun, and in a sense was completed. 
It cannot be said, however, that it is by any means a complete 
bridge. In the second period, the once divided branches found 
a new avenue of approach and began to cooperate and have 
things, not all things, "common." In the third period, the work 
of replacing the bridge with a filled up gulf, and thus obliterat- 
ing every sign of bisection, was begun. This meant that Method- 
ism had come to the conclusion that the bridge of fraternity 
and federation is a good thing, but that the filled up gulf, mean- 
ing reintegrated, is better and necessary. 

In order that we may have a clearer view of the present status 



tftttOtf OF AMERICAN METHODISM 3l3 

of this movement toward that reintegration let us consider briefly 
the three periods. 

Bridging the Gulf 

The first proposition looking to the 1 bridging of the gulf Wa!s 
made when the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, in 1846, commissioned an honored member of 
that Conference to bear its "Christian regards and fraternal 
salutations" to the General Conference of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. The dominant idea prevailing in the latter Gen- 
eral Conference, which met in 1848, was that the honored dele- 
gate from the South, while a brother beloved, was the represen- 
tative of a seceding and, therefore, illegitimate church. The 
conclusion was that the Methodist Episcopal Church should not 
enter into fraternal relations with the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South. It cannot be said, therefore, that when the Gen- 
eral Conference of 1848 adjourned the prospects for bridge- 
building were very bright. 

Just as the stone holds fire, so the seemingly strong heart of 
American episcopal Methodism held the spirit of fraternity. It 
is hard to believe, as we read the history of the ^O's and the 
^O's. Horresco ref evens! Yet that spirit was alive. In 1869 
the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church conveyed a warm 
message of love to the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, in session in St. Louis, and expressed a desire to 
have a conference on the "propriety, practicability, and methods 
of reunion." The Southern bishops felt constrained to explain 
some past history and to disclaim any authority on their part to 
discuss reunion, especially, as they claimed, since the Northern 
bishops, in appearing before the Southern bishops, had not been 
commissioned by their supreme Conference, and had delivered 
a message which virtually contained the assumptions on which 
the General Conference of 1848 refused to enter into fraternal 
relations with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. This 
episode did not show that a single mudsill of the bridge had 
been laid, yet the prospects of a great fraternal highway were 



314 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

brighter than ever before. The two branches were beginning to 
understand each other better, and calm judgment and justice 
on both sides were beginning to assert themselves. 

Before the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, in 1870 appeared representatives of a commission 
which had been appointed by the General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in 1868 for the primary purpose 
of treating on the subject of reunion with the African Methodist 
Episcopal Zion Church. These representatives asked the 
Southern General Conference for the appointment of a similar 
commission to consider with them the subject of reunion. Since, 
however, these representatives did not convey any message author- 
ized by their General Conference, the Southern Conference 
expressed its judgment "that the true interests of the church of 
Christ demand the maintenance of our separate and distinct 
organization." There were still no signs of work on the bridge, 
yet real progress had been accomplished. 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
in 1872, appointed fraternal delegates to the General Confer- 
ence of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1874. The 
delegates were received as brethren, and the Southern General 
Conference again did what it did with unpleasant results in 
1846. It appointed fraternal delegates to the Northern General 
Conference of 1876, and appointed a commission to meet a sim- 
ilar commission to be appointed by that General Conference 
"to adjust all existing difficulties." This was very substantial 
bridge-building. The work was greatly expedited by the General 
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which duly 
appointed the commission. 

The joint commission met at Cape May in August, 1876. 
When it had done its work, and this work had been ratified by 
the following General Conference on either side, the bridge 
was virtually turned over for use to American episcopal Meth- 
odism. The work of the Cape May Commission opened the way 
not only for a free interplay and growth of fraternal feeling but 
for fraternal cooperation. It meant the placing of both branches 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 315 

of Methodism on a common basis of historical and ecclesiastical 
legitimacy. It meant the adoption of rules for the adjustment 
of disputed claims to church property. It placed the two 
churches in a position where for the first time it was possible 
for them truly to fraternize and cooperate. In this sense was 
the gulf bridged. 

Things in Common 

The Declaration and Basis of Fraternity adopted by the Cape 
May Commission in August, 1876, and shortly afterward rati- 
fied by General Conference action of both churches, and the 
establishment of rules for the adjustment of disputed claims 
very naturally ushered in an era of cooperation. This may be 
said to have extended from 1880 to 1910. It was the era in 
which the two Methodisms began to have certain things in com- 
mon. Fraternity assumed not only a cooperative but a com- 
munal form so far as polity and policy were concerned. It is 
pleasing to look back upon that era and to single out from 
much that we could all gladly forget the burgeoning life of a 
fraternity which was slowly growing into what many trust will 
prove the fruitage of ecclesiastical unification. From various 
General Conference actions, and afterward through the more 
compact and authoritative Federal Council, we see resulting a 
joint administration of publishing interests in China, a union 
of the three Methodisms in Japan, a joint missionary work hi 
a number of foreign fields, a common order of worship, a com- 
mon catechism, a common ritual, a common hymnal, and a 
common understanding that "where either church is doing work 
expected of Methodism, the other society shall not organize a 
society nor erect a church building until the bishop having 
jurisdiction in the case of the work proposed shall be consulted 
and his approval obtained. 



» 



Filling of the Gulp 

The first great political step toward replacing a mere bridge 
of fraternity with what should be equivalent to a filled-up gulf, 



316 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

and with what should mean also real unification without a single 
sign of a former yawning gulf, was taken by the Joint Com- 
mission on Federation in its meeting in Baltimore in December, 
1910. A new question was injected into the deliberations of the 
commission. It came from the commissioners representing the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. It was in the form of a clear and 
unequivocal proposition for a joint consideration of the "desir- 
ability and practicability of organic Union." The Southern 
commissioners seized their opportunity, and, true to their re- 
sponsibility, appointed a sub-committee which presented for the 
first time in the history of the church a recommendation embody- 
ing a specific plan of unification and suggesting a name and a 
jurisdictional scheme. The committee of nine appointed by 
the Joint Federal Commission of the three Methodisms after a 
number of meetings adopted a plan which, with some changes, 
was approved by the joint commission of the three Methodisms at 
Chattanooga, in May, 1911, and submitted to the following 
General Conferences of the three Methodisms, respectively, for 
consideration. That plan was approved by the General Con- 
ference of the Methodist Protestant Church in 1912. It was 
neither approved nor disapproved by the General Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1912. With but few changes 
it was adopted by the General Conference of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, in 1914. That plan is now familiar to 
the church. It is with most prayerful feelings that many repre- 
senting the three Methodisms are wondering what the approach- 
ing Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church will do with 
this plan. 

The Key Difficulty 

Having before us this brief sketch of what has been accom- 
plished in the great endeavor to bring about the reunion of the 
Methodisms, we can easily see that while we have been solving 
problem after problem, we now face the one which seems most 
nearly insolvable. With all due deference to the many good 
men and women in the three Methodisms who deem unification 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 317 

impossible, I must say that the seemingly unsolvable problem is, 
after all, not represented in the question, Can we? but in the 
question, Shall we? Shall we fill up the gulf that has been 
yawning between the two Methodisms? Shall we join hands 
in deed and in truth, and rejoice in unification rather than in a 
simulacrum of a confederation? 

The difficulties in the way of a solution for our problems have 
been widely discussed with varying degrees of feeling and pur- 
pose. They are well known to our people who are in the habit 
of reading the books and newspapers of the church. For a spe- 
cific reason I do not propose to discuss these reasons at length. 
It will suffice to let the emphasis be placed on the key difficulty. 
As in every arch composed of several stones there is always a 
stone whose removal means the collapse of the arch, and as in 
every log jam in our rivers there is one log whose displacement 
would break the jam, so among the formidable and widely dis- 
cussed difficulties in the way of Methodist unification there is 
one difficulty whose removal would mean the final disappearance 
of all the other difficulties. Yet the fact should be emphasized 
that it would be a serious mistake for us to minimize the other 
difficulties. 

What is that "key difficulty " ? It is not a constitutional ques- 
tion. However great a part the constitutional question took in 
the drama of 1844, and however learnedly our grave constitu- 
tional hair-splitters may talk and write concerning the diverse 
constitutional trends and strains in the blood of episcopal Meth- 
odism, we may safely assume that the difference is not so great 
in these latter days as to be easily evident at all times to the 
plain, practical, composite mind of Methodism. In any event, 
that difficulty will not be allowed to block the whole stream of a 
fraternity which seeks the broad sea of unity. 

The "key difficulty" is not sectionalism. There is still much 
of it — too much of it — in all three branches of Methodism. Yet 
no one can deny that it is fast passing away. The number of 
those saints who are still moved by the partisan feelings and 
impulses engendered in those far off years of storm and stress, 



318 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

and who in their declining years make a face at the vision of 
the clasped hands of the North and South in the halls of legis- 
lation and in the marts of business, is rapidly becoming smaller. 
As they pass away we are comforted in the thought that earth's 
loss means the simultaneous enrichment of fraternity in heaven 
and fraternity on earth. At the same time I am far from mak- 
ing opposition to unification synonymous in all cases with this 
sectionalism which I have been discussing. 

The "key difficulty" is not in the fact that federation has 
failed to accomplish its ends. While we must recognize this 
failure and realize that after decades of effort toward a rap- 
prochement there is still a hurtful competition, that old wounds 
remain unmollified, and that geographical and jurisdictional 
disputes are still unsettled, it must be admitted that this very 
inadequacy of federation should prove a strong argument in 
favor of unification. It is an argument in favor of bringing 
together the fractured parts of Methodism in that closer apposi- 
tion which means healing. Such apposition is impossible in 
mere fraternity. 

The "key difficulty" is not even the Negro question, as for- 
midable as that question is. In the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, we think that we can appreciate the gravity of the problem 
in the Methodist Episcopal Church. There can be with us no 
insuperable difficulty in the way of the church membership of 
the Negro. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, from 1844 to 1870, and even now he is found 
here and there in this church. We have learned, however, that 
he thrives best ecclesiastically when he is ecclesiastically apart 
from though not altogether without the supervising help of his 
white neighbor. So far as his acting as legislative dynamite in 
the sacred precincts of the episcopacy is concerned, we have no 
more serious fear than is common to our brethren of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church. We believe the solution of the Negro 
problem to be largely with the Negro himself. Having con- 
fidence in him, we cannot believe that his problem is insolvable. 

What is the "key log" whose removal means the breaking up 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 319 

of the whole jam? The answer to this question has already 
been anticipated by every one who has followed the thought line 
of this paper. That "key difficulty" is not external, but internal. 
It has its home not in ecclesiastical conditions and environments, 
but in spiritual attitudes and impulses. It is to be settled not 
by the head but by the heart. And it must be a Spirit-cleansed 
and Christ-enthroned heart. It was our venerable Bishop Wilson 
who, in his reply to that great address made by President Henry 
Wade Rogers to our General Conference in 1894, said: "There 
is no solution of earthly problems that will bring us together. 
It is in Jesus Christ that we are one, and that we hold to. You 
may equal us but you shall not exceed us in love." It was a 
brave Union soldier, later a great episcopal captain in the hosts 
of Methodism, who only a few months ago sent out in a little 
book, which fairly sobs in a pathos of appeal, this message to a 
dismembered Methodism: "Again let it be repeated that in the 
present condition of Methodism Christ is the only way of escape 
from our estrangements. He alone can break down the middle 
wall of partition. For His sake let us heed the pleading of 
the Spirit — and of the world's crisis prayer/ 



» 



The Way Out 

We have only indicated the difficulty. To define it we cannot 
do better than to turn our eyes to several well-known principles 
which must govern the three Methodisms in finding the common 
standing ground of unity. To keep our minds on the problem is 
to stand still under a darkening sky. To consider principles of 
solution is to follow avenues which lead to the open highway of 
success. 

(1) We must have faith in the ultimate accomplishment of 
reunification. Such a faith says : It ought to be ; it, therefore, 
can be ; and by the grace of God it shall be. 

In the paper which I edit there appeared lately the following 
brief letter from one of our evangelists : "Recently I was holding 
a revival in a Methodist church, South, on an island having only 
five or six hundred people. About twenty-five years ago the 



320 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Methodist Episcopal Church built a church there out of mis- 
sionary money and from that day until this there has been a 
bitter fight. Members of one church would under no circum- 
stances go into the other church. Near friends and relatives 
would die and be buried, but these mad people would not attend 
the funeral. Think of that! I said: 'You have carried this 
devilment far enough and it may be that God has sent me here 
to break it up. Sunday we will have a union meeting at the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in the morning, and in the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South, in the evening.' They came, 
and such a shouting, as we sang the old-time songs, one seldom 
hears! After the shouting had gone on for some time I said: 
'Let us pray/ 'No/ said one strong sister, 'it is time to shout/ 
I believe that the possibility of the outcome in the case of the 
little contentious island is the possibility of Methodism in gen- 
eral, and that a reunited Methodism would have the feeling 
expressed by the overjoyed sister who said, 'It is time to shout/ " 

In connection with this thought it should be remembered how 
by joint resolutions and in more practical ways the preachers and 
laymen of the two dominant Methodisms in such cities as St. 
Louis, St. Joseph, and Chattanooga have sent out to all Meth- 
odisms the message that the time for unification is at hand. I 
believe that while these cities are not truly representative, the 
sentiment expressed in the actions referred to is shared to a 
great extent by our people. 

(2) We should minimize our difficulties and magnify our 
agreements. It seems to me that this principle should be espe- 
cially commended to those editors and newspaper contributors 
who think that their strength is never so strong and their bril- 
liancy is never so brilliant as when they exhibit a kind of Ber- 
serker rage in trying to show how many difficulties there are in 
the way of unification. What a good thing it would be if they 
would stop to realize that they would be showing the spirit of 
Christ in pointing out how close together the Methodisms are 
getting! Just a kind of footnote here: More than any other 
class of men the editors of Methodism will affect for weal or 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 321 

woe in the coming days this question of the unification of the 
Methodisms. 

(3) In presenting plans and in considering plans presented, 
in making concessions and in asking for concessions, we must 
beware of harboring any selfish thought of ecclesiastical profit 
or loss. We should be guided in our respective dealings only 
by the answer to the question, "Is it to the glory of God ?" Eight 
here our common Methodism will meet its acid test. It requires 
a very high order of Christian love to make either an individual 
or a collective body obedient to this principle. It is that order 
of love which saves its own life by losing it. Its unending 
declaration is, "I am willing to decrease in order that Christ 
may increase." Such a love does more than pass resolutions 
on fraternity, or own a fault, or right a wrong, or turn the other 
cheek for the blow. In the name of Christ it delivers up cher- 
ished rights and privileges if by so doing God may be glorified. 
It is filled with the self-sacrificing spirit of Him who made 
"peace through the blood of his cross to reconcile all things unto 
himself." 

Unless we be willing to apply such a principle to this mighty 
question of unification, which directly affects nearly seven mil- 
lions of people called Methodists, and the destinies of many 
millions more, we may as well make up our minds to draw the 
curtain over the glowing picture of a reunited Methodism, store 
the picture in the garrets of memory, and content ourselves to 
the end of the days with only a bridged gulf. The whole issue 
is contained in the question, "Shall we yield ourselves to the 
Spirit in settling this question of unification as we yielded our- 
selves to Him when we were individually settling a certain heart 
matter between God and ourselves in that hour of our redemp- 
tion ?" 

(4) As members of the respective branches of Methodism we 
must know one another better. The two branches have been 
studying each other across the gulf for a long time. It cannot 
be said that the bridge has been greatly conducive to a wider 
knowledge of each other. The three Methodisms are still so 



322 A WOKKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

far apart from one another! We hardly see anything of each 
other unless it be on state occasions. The time has come for us 
to study each other at closer range. This means that we should 
be so close together as to be able to feel the heart throb. It is 
worth much to discuss plans in ecclesiastical assemblies. It is 
worth more to bring heart against heart in the private and public 
social hour, in the prayer meeting, in the great congregation, 
in the revival meeting. Such a meeting as this is worth more 
to the cause of Methodist unification than all the messages that 
could be sent backward and forward across the line during the 
decades. There is a strong call for us to engage in revival work 
everywhere. Is there not a stronger call for a mingling of the 
three Methodisms in revival work? 

Shall the gulf be abolished, and shall there be a reintegration 
of the scattered Methodisms ? Time alone can answer the ques- 
tion. I am going to quote some words used by a great ecclesias- 
tical publicist of the South. When he used them his beloved 
section was in the throes of the reconstruction horror. The 
echoes of the last guns that thundered during the great civil 
struggle had barely died away and the green of the harvest was 
but beginning to hide the awful red of the life-blood of an Amer- 
ican brotherhood. The smiling eyes of Hope were dimmed with 
the sadness of a fear that the hands of North and South would 
never again rest in fraternal clasp. Is it any wonder that the 
words I am going to quote were applied to an exclusively 
Southern Methodism which would "stand in its lot to the end 
of the days" ? In the light of the era of fraternal love which has 
broken upon the Union since those days, and with the approval, 
I believe, of the original author who has been many years where 
there are no divided hearts, I am going to make his words apply 
to a reunited Methodism which is possible, and which we trust 
will be seen when the dividing gulf shall have been obliterated 
and the united hosts are marching to the final victory. These 
are the words which the great publicist wrote in 1872 : 

"Fifty years hence Cod will be listening to the prayers of his 
people. Fifty years hence — we cannot doubt it — there will be 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 323 

a Methodist Church in the land, in poise amid the factions of 
the hour, pure amid its temptations, her candlestick still in his 
place, her light burning with the pure flame of inspiration and 
faith, her eye lifted, her hands clean from bribes, her robes of 
linen clean and white, the righteousness of saints washed in the 
blood of the Lamb, revered by all who love the Lord Jesus, and 
hated only by his enemies; her children dwelling in peace in 
the south and in the north, in the west and in the east, with 
Republican and Democrat, Radical and Conservative, alike call- 
ing her blessed. She will move with a grand but quiet 
energy amid the affairs of men, and the representative of Christ 
to all, the political ally or enemy of none. She will stand for 
Christ, recognized by all, upon a plane far above the level of 
those contests which come and go with the energy and the swift- 
ness of the tornado. She will be known, and loved, and 
hated, as the chaste spouse of Christ. Her character will give 
full force and meaning to the word of God committed to her." 



324 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



THE PROBLEM: WORK ON HOME FIELDS 

Dr. I. Oakland Penn, 

Mr. President and Brethren of the Conference: The 
letter of invitation extended me on behalf of the Foundation, 
indicated that I should discuss Methodist union as affected by 
the work of our Methodisms on the home fields, from the stand- 
point of the Negro, reviewing what has been accomplished 
in the past toward cooperation, federation or union of Negro 
Methodist bodies; the difficulties in the way of closer relation- 
ship, with frank suggestions as to what adjustments ought to 
prevail, looking to the accomplishment of such relationship. 

The Present Situation 

There are nine groups of Negro Methodist bodies in the 
United States; The African Methodist Episcopal, with 5,000 
ministers, 6,000 churches, 620,000 members; the African Meth- 
odist Episcopal Zion, with 3,552 ministers, 3,180 churches, 568,- 
608 members; the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in 
America, 3,072 ministers, 3,196 churches, and 240,798 mem- 
bers; the Union American Methodist Episcopal Church, with 
170 ministers, 212 churches, 19,000 members; the African Union 
Methodist Protestant Church, with 200 ministers, 125 churches, 
and 4,000 members; the Reformed Methodist Union Episcopal 
Church, with 72 ministers, 58 churches, and 4,397 members; the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, with 2,153 ministers, 3,539 
churches, and 352,952 members; the Methodist Protestant 
Church, with 55 ministers, 64 churches, 2,612 members; and 
the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America, with 22 min- 
isters, 26 churches, 1,258 members, making a total of 14,339 min- 
isters, 16,445 churches, and 1,816,684 members. 

The value of their church property is $25,733,387. These 
nine groups of Negro Methodism are pursuing their work in 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 325 

the home fields on the same ground. The four largest have 
churches in hundreds of cities and towns, while six of the nine 
are represented in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Balti- 
more, Wilmington, and Washington. Two of these bodies oper- 
ate educational institutions in the same citv and town : others in 
cities not far apart. 

There are 34 bishops in five of the nine groups, 54 general 
officers, and a multitude of presiding elders, traveling the same 
territory. 

While there has been some understanding with three of 
the groups for eight years, it is yet generally felt that each group 
recognizes it as a right to begin a church or an educational insti- 
tution without regard to whether it is needed or whether the 
society could support itself. If a beginning can be made, how- 
ever meager, the church is begun. 

Without further statement of conditions so prevalent, in the 
home field, among this people, who are one in poverty, in 
struggle, in growth, in racial individuality, in bonds, and in 
hope, if waste, altar against altar, inefficiency, loss of power, 
waste of energy on non-essentials, be a sin, in God/s sight, of 
any others, it is more so among Negro Methodists. Surely 
Christ must weep over this modern confusion (although it may 
do some good), as he did over Jerusalem, when he beholds 
Negroes divided here, and if I may be pardoned for saying it, 
carrying their American division, petty jealousies, and bicker- 
ings to their African ancestors while trying to civilize them. 
The slogan of Negro Methodists on the home fields should be 
cooperation and federation now, pending the settlement of other 
questions contributing to union, some of which we shall frankly 
state. 

What has been accomplished in cooperation, federation and 
union in the home field? 

We shall confine ourselves to the history of efforts made within 
the last two decades. The first effort, within this time, at co- 
operation and federation of Negro Methodists began eight years 
ago, when a call was issued by the senior bishops of the African 



326 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and 
Colored Methodist Episcopal Churches in America, for a council 
of the bishops of these churches, February 12, 1908, in Washing- 
ton, D. C. The subjects discussed were federation, religious 
affairs, civil, political conditions of the colored people, uniform- 
ity of service, common hymnal and catechism. 

The records show that resolutions were passed agreeing to the 
above. How much has been accomplished can best be told by 
representatives of these bodies present. The records also show 
the passage of an important resolution on ministerial transfers 
from one body to another to promote a broader field of useful- 
ness for their gifted men and the taking care of strategic centers, 
preventing indiscriminate passing of dissatisfied ministers from 
one body to another and affording protection from the disreput- 
able minister. The record shows nothing on organic union. 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in 1908 made its first appointment of a commission on federation 
of colored Methodist bodies to meet like commissions, and re- 
quested the other bodies to appoint commissions, but this was 
not done. 

In the meantime the tri-council of Negro bishops of the three 
Negro bodies met in Mobile, Alabama, February 9-12, 1911. 
An attempt was made on the part of the commission on federa- 
tion of colored Methodist churches of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church to meet the second tri-council of bishops without avail. 

The first suggestion of organic union of the three larger Negro 
Methodist bodies was made at the Mobile session. A delegation 
of sixteen of the most prominent ministers and laymen, prin- 
cipally general officers of the three bodies, called upon the tri- 
council of bishops, declared emphatically for organic union, and 
sought a frank declaration upon the same from the bishops in 
session. As indicating the real purpose and hunger for union 
we quote from the record a portion of the petition as follows : 

That as an evidence of good faith, and for the purpose of bringing 
this question more directly before the church tribunal, and through 
them to the body of the people, there be created here and now a 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 327 

special commission to be styled as a commission on organic 
union. 

That said commission shall consist of the bishops of the three 
churches, the general officers, nine ministers (three from each) 
and six laymen (two from each church). 

That said commission be required to meet and formulate plans 
and propositions as to the basis of organic union; said plans and 
propositions to be submitted to the General Conference of the 
respective churches in their next regular sessions. 

The spokesman of the petitioners, Prof. John R. Hawkins, a 
layman of great worth, who is now the financial secretary of the 
African Methodist Episcopal Church, said to the tri-council of 
bishops in commenting upon the petition, that organic union 
of the three Negro Methodist bodies was desired by the laity of 
the churches. A vote of the laity upon this matter, I think, 
would support such a statement. 

The petition was referred to a committee on resolutions, but 
from the record of the tri-council, and the General Conference 
of the three bodies, in 1912 and 1914, no action seems to have 
been taken upon the petition. 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in 1912 continued the commission on federation of colored Meth- 
odist churches, enlarging the episcopal representation from one 
to three. Requests were made by the Methodist Episcopal Church 
again upon the three largest Negro Methodist bodies, seeking the 
appointment of like commissions, but the record of neither body 
shows that a commission was ordered by its General Conference. 

In the address of the bishops of the African Methodist Epis- 
copal Church to the General Conference of 1912 there is a refer- 
ence to the tri-council of bishops of the three Negro bodies, but 
nothing as to the commission on federation, although the General 
Conference record shows that a committee was appointed on 
such a commission. In the committee's report there was no 
order for such a commission and no specific recommendation 
as to cooperation, federation or organic union. 

The commission on federation of colored Methodists of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church had its first formal meeting in Chat- 



328 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

tanooga, Term., January 9, 1915. It organized and defined 
what it understood by the legislation of the several General 
Conferences to be its powers, viz. : to further cooperation, feder- 
ation, and unity of Negro Methodists. 

Accordingly a committee of three was raised to approach the 
three Negro Methodist bodies and ascertain if their General Con- 
ferences had appointed commissions on federation of colored 
Methodist churches, and if not, to request the board of bishops 
of each church to appoint such, looking to a joint conference. 

The committee of three approached these bodies and while 
neither General Conference had appointed commissions or or- 
dered the same, the bishops of each body felt competent to do so 
and accordingly appointed a commission. 

A joint conference was sought and successfully held in Wiley 
Chapel, Methodist Book Concern Building, Cincinnati, Ohio, 
June 30, 1915. To say the least, the interest manifested in 
this joint session was acute throughout the Negro Methodist 
world. Each member of the four commissions was present, num- 
bering in all 12 bishops, 12 ministers, and 12 laymen, a total 
of 36. They were without doubt among the most representative 
and influential of the bishops, ministers, and laymen in the four 
churches. Each commission met prior to the joint session and 
prepared its pleadings for the same. The joint sessions were 
most cordial, brotherly, and purposeful, resulting in a declara- 
tion of agreement on cooperation, federation, and organic union, 
which remains to be indorsed by the General Conference of the 
four bodies, and the commissions continued with General Con- 
ference authority and support. The declaration is not only val- 
uable as a part of a permanent record giving a basis for the work 
of Negro Methodists in the home field for the future, but has 
intimate relationship to the whole question of unification. 

Declaration of Agreement 
A Plan for Cooperation 

1. The same standard of study for the ministry. 

2. To approve all efforts by the Secretary of Education to stand- 
ardize the curriculum of schools and colleges. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 329 

3. To approve and encourage inter-Methodistic institutes and 
Christian workers' assemblies. 

4. To inaugurate the same by organizing, at once, twenty-five 
efficiency and evangelistic conventions, to be held for three days 
in as many civic centers, to be participated in jointly by the 
different churches in the federation, culminating in an inter- 
Methodistic Negro men's convention. 

5. To inaugurate an inter-Methodist campaign to raise one dollar 
per member for Christian education among Negroes; this cam- 
paign began July, 1915, and continues until December 31, 1916. 

A. Plan for Federation 

1. To come to a better understanding as to establishing churches 
and colleges. 

2. To encourage a plan by which one common Negro Methodist 
theological seminary could be established for the training of men 
for the ministry. 

3. To agree to cease competition in Africa and cooperate in all 
mission work. 

4. To recommend that ministers coming from either branch of 
the four affiliated denominations must produce a certificate of good 
standing from a resident bishop. 

5. That failure of any bishop to adhere strictly to this provision 
should be regarded as a violation of the sacred principles and 
practice of fraternity, and such shall be reported to the board of 
bishops of which the offending bishop is a member. 

The Plan for Organic Union 

We record our deepest conviction that we will gladly welcome 
the day when Methodists will be one in fact and in spirit. We 
recognize that it will require much prayer, patience, mutual toler- 
ance, and the unselfish spirit of the great Head of the Church. 

We further record the desire, in the future movements and plans 
concerning the larger question of union of episcopal Methodisms, 
that all branches shall be considered alike. 

We further agree and assert that each section of this federated 
commission present to its respective General Conference for approval 
the findings of this joint commission, and seek to continue for the 
next quadrennium its own identity. 

Difficulties 

As the commissions are now constituted, they can make good 
on every point in the declaration save the organic union of Negro 



330 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Methodists, if that be desired separate from the organic union of 
all Methodist bodies or to be negotiated as a part of the whole. 
The difficulty is in the relationship of the commission of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church to the other commissions of the or- 
ganized Negro bodies. The commission of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church called attention to this difficulty in the following 
resolution which it submitted to the joint session as denning its 
relation to the unification of Negro Methodisms: "If the Gen- 
eral Conferences of 1904, 1908, and 1912, in the appointment 
of the commission on federation of colored Methodist churches, 
meant that the Negroes in the Methodist Episcopal Church 
should discuss organic union with Negro Methodist bodies, the 
commission could not do so, as the Negroes in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church which they represent are not a separate Negro 
body having Negro bishops." What may not here be said, ought 
to be of more significance than what is said. 

Bishop J. W Hood, the senior bishop of the African Meth- 
odist Episcopal Zion Church, says that if ever the Negro Meth- 
odist bodies are united, the three hundred and fifty thousand 
neutrals, now members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, will 
have to negotiate that union. There is a vision in the statement. 
It is a dead letter, however, as long as the episcopal leader- 
ship of the Negro in the Methodist Episcopal Church is not 
partly, at least, of the Negro race. How they should be elected 
is for that church to say. 

The Negro wants to facilitate union, being assured that no 
essential to his development is to be sacrificed. The Negro is 
at present helping to solve this problem by voting eight to one 
for Bishops for Races and Languages. It might be said in all 
truth, that the responsibility for delaying unification may partly 
rest upon those who defeat this measure in the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. 

The truth may just as well be stated, to wit, that the Negro 
in the Methodist Episcopal Church feels sure that, in view of 
conditions, it would be very delicate for our white brethren 
to discuss their unification with any organized Negro body 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 331 

involving a change of relations they now sustain to their 
church. 

Another truth may as well be stated, to wit, that the neutral 
body composed of the Negroes in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church could not hope to have power with existing Negro 
bodies sufficient to negotiate, apart from the whole, the amalga- 
mation of any of them, including themselves, into one body, 
unless the Negroes in the Methodist Episcopal Church had 
settled their property rights with the parent church. Their 
success as neutrals depends upon their power. In this case, the 
Negroes in the Methodist Episcopal Church are to Negro Meth- 
odist bodies, in negotiating unification of these bodies when 
opportunity seems ripe, as the United States is to the belligerent 
powers at war, in negotiating peace. 

In the interest of light, it should be stated that the time 
seems propitious for beginning such negotiations with Negro 
Methodist bodies. Even if the difficulties were removed, as 
indicated, there is yet another and a better way most agree- 
able to the Negroes in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and 
which seems more like real union. 

Another and Better Way 

Reference to the declaration of agreement at the joint con- 
ference of Negro Methodists in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 30, 1915, 
will reveal the request of the commission "That in future move- 
ments and plans concerning the larger question of the union 
of episcopal Methodism all branches of Methodism shall be con- 
sidered alike." 

Why not agree, therefore, with the principle of "unification 
through reorganization" as the basis of union in the home fields ? 
Let that represent the principle upon which all Methodisms of 
all names may unite. If we mistake not, all Negro Methodisms 
in the Dominion of Canada are proposing to unite with the 
Methodist Church of Canada. I do not know if the Methodist 
Church of Canada made this proposal to the colored bodies, but 
it would seem so. 



332 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

The General Conference Journal of the African Methodist 
Episcopal Church for 1912 contains the proposed basis of such 
a union. Why not a union of all Methodisms, of both white and 
black, in the United States, by reorganization in which each 
loses its identity as now organized? If the identity of each as 
formerly existing be destroyed, there can be no contention as to 
who is who, and on such a plan if union be not secured, the 
responsibility for the inability to do so is more easily located. 

After such a union of all Methodists, let there be the division 
by jurisdictional, supervisional, or any other named conference 
or division, for more successful administrative work, one of 
which shall be the Negro. Let there be one General Conference 
for the united church in which all shall be represented. That 
the Negro shall thus sit in the General Conference of the united 
charge is agreed to by the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, in accepting and approving the tenta- 
tive report of the joint commission. We know an exception is 
made in the case of the Negro, in the adoption and sending back 
of the plan by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to wit, 
that the Negro be an independent body holding only fraternal 
relations with the united church, but the Negro is agreed upon 
the acceptance of the plan of the commission, which the Church 
South approves, and not the independent relationship. 

Presuming that ownership of all connectional property would 
be vested in the united Methodist church, and the point of con- 
tact of the races maintained in the General Conference of the 
unified Methodist church, much of the difficulty herein men- 
tioned would be obviated. 

The Negro in the Methodist Episcopal Church believes in 
the contact of the races in Christian work at some point. He 
will not take the entire responsibility for a total discontinuance 
of this. If our white people in the Methodist Episcopal Church 
and out of it think another relation involving no contact what- 
ever be better for him and for them, the Negro awaits that 
"information." 

The Negro believes there ought to be closer affiliation in Chris- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 333 

tian work in the home field by white people, North and South, 
such as would give to the colored people a belief in and the help 
of white people, and to the white people an object lesson of the 
progress the Negro is making and the strivings of his inmost 
soul upward, all of which would make for liberality, patience, 
and tolerance in the solution of our delicate problems. One 
cannot fail to be gratified that there is more of this Christian 
work going on between the races in home fields North and South. 
The recent ministers' institutes in the South for Negroes, in 
which our brethren of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
have taken prominent part, are prophetic of a new day. That 
such intercourse should continue even more intimately in the 
future, is not so much for the Negro to say as for our white 
people North and South. For our part, it is welcomed. 

Conclusion 

The thought of a conquering Methodist army, "one as the 
hand, in all things essential/' is worth working for. The very 
thought of a conquering church of united Methodists should 
challenge the best that is in us to accomplish it. 

To a Negro with any vision at all the sight and tread of two 
million Negro Methodists bound by the centralized connectional- 
ism of our polity, with faces to the rising sun, means so much 
to the kingdom of Christ and to him that he should put non- 
essentials into oblivion, that the essentials of strength and 
power be manifest. 

God is calling the Methodist army to mobilize for battle. May 
we hear, get together, and forward march. 



THE PROBLEM: PROPERTY HOLDINGS 



THE HON. M. L. WALTON, 
Woodstock, Virginia 



THE PEOBLEM : PROPERTY HOLDINGS 
The Hon. M. L. Walton 

The subject assigned me as shown by the program is "The 
Problem of Property Holdings, as a Factor to be considered in 
the Movement for Union." 

Since the establishment of the Methodist Church and its 
divers branches it has possessed various species of property, 
real, personal, and mixed. 

This property, which is defined as an object of value lawfully 
acquired and held with the power of disposition of the same by 
the owners thereof, is expressed in stately church structures, 
colleges, universities, academies, parsonages, publishing houses, 
hospitals, training schools, church extension buildings, homes 
of the aged, orphanages and endowments. 

In many instances the toil and sweat of heart and brain 
involved in the production and the accumulation of property 
or liquidation of encumbrances of debt, which fastens itself like 
some great octopus, has been beyond the power of arithmetical 
computation. Then, too, the sincere desire prompted by the lov- 
ing hearts of the donors to bequeath or devise their property to 
the church, for its uses and benefits, has been marked and notable. 
May their tribe greatly increase in the days which are to follow. 
The pardonable pride of the individual member of the church, 
whether in the high or lowly stations of life, endowed with much 
or little earthly goods, has been simply wonderful. While there 
have been conspicuous examples of munificent liberality shown 
by gifts of wealthy friends and members of the church, which 
commend them to our highest consideration and appreciation, 
yet we should not forget or ignore the small gifts of the poor 
widows and members of our congregations of scanty substance. 
Surely God loves all of these gifts. One gives out of his abun- 

337 



338 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

dance and the other out of his penury or earnings derived from 
hard labor or rigid economy. The enjoyment of the property 
thus acquired creates within not only pleasurable emotions, but 
this property is highly beneficial to mankind. 

There can be no adequate limitations or boundary line placed 
on the real good derived by the use and enjoyment of such 
property rights which are highly essential to the growth and 
development of the work of the church. In a word, its perpet- 
uity, humanly speaking, depends upon it. It is true that our 
forefathers and progenitors of heroic memory were compelled 
to live the simple life and use the most ordinary property in 
their work and worship. They, however, only measurably 
profited in their day of limitations. The increase of population, 
its concentration in the larger cities and towns as well as the 
imperative demands of the times have required not only a 
greater outlay in property, but of a more expensive character. 

In this connection it is interesting as well as instructive to 
summarize briefly the property holdings of the different Meth- 
odist bodies, especially the Methodist Episcopal Church and the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, with which we are more 
familiar. 

According to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Year 
Book of 1916, on January 1, 1915, there were 17,068 churches, 
which shows a net gain of 62 churches since the year 1914. 
These churches represent a total valuation as given of $57,677,- 
908, which is an increase in value of $3,994,417 over the pre- 
ceding year. 

The number of parsonages of the same churches are given for 
1915 as 5,368, which indicates an increase in number over 1914 
of 8, and the total value of these parsonages is given as $11,127,- 
545, which shows an increase in value over the preceding year 
of $44,304. There are 235 district parsonages, valued at $1,075,- 
300. As a consequence by the simple process of addition we 
ascertain readily that the total values combined of churches and 
parsonages aggregate the splendid sum of $69,880,753. 

The number of educational institutions of the Methodist Epis- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 339 

copal Church, South, exclusive of mission schools in foreign 
countries, is 88, and the total values of the buildings and 
grounds is stated at $12,165,332, to which is to be added an 
endowment of $7,247,220, to which is to be also added the value 
of equipment of $1,133,931, income of last year of $2,132,229, 
making in the total $23,078,512. 

Add to this the value of the publishing houses, orphanages, 
children's homes, hospitals, such as the Barnes Hospital of St. 
Louis, valued at $1,200,000, with an endowment of $950,000, 
training schools and Woman's Home Mission property, and 
it will be seen at a glance that approximately at least we have 
$100,000,000 of property. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church owned in 1915 30,754 
churches valued at $213,325,468, and parsonages 14,793, valued 
at $35,210,517, or the combined values of the churches and par- 
sonages less the indebtedness thereon reported for 1914 makes a 
grand total of values of the great sum of $226,983,173. To the 
98 institutions for white people exclusively, valued with equip- 
ment at $28,485,032, are to be added the permanent funds of 
endowment and annuity with total income, and you have the 
aggregate of $33,724,034. The value of the hospitals, training 
schools, homes for the aged, children's institutions, publishing 
houses are to be included and by doing so you have easily $300,- 
000,000, representing property values of all descriptions with 
endowments and annuities. These figures are simply appalling 
and represent a constituency of six million and a quarter or 
more in the two branches of Methodism, or in all branches of 
Methodism, according to Dr. Carroll, for 1915, 7,472,108, an 
increase for the year of 144,079. 

Property is held jointly by the Methodists in foreign coun- 
tries which is not included in this tabulated statement of prop- 
erty holdings. 

It is worthy of remark that the resolutions of the committee 
on church relations adopted by the General Conference in 1914 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, did not mention the 
property holdings of the respective churches in the method of 



340 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

reorganization. But the recommendations of the committee did 
provide that the method of reorganization as recommended by 
the joint commission on federation was both feasible and desir- 
able. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, declared itself, 
by its General Conference of 1914, unanimously to be in favor 
of the unification of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in accordance with the gen- 
eral plan of reorganization. Under the third article of so-called 
reorganization it is specifically provided that "the General Con- 
ference is to have full legislative power over all matters dis- 
tinctly connectional and the Quadrennial Conferences are to 
have full legislative power over distinctively local affairs." It 
would seem the forum is here in the abstract thus created for 
the adjustment of property holdings. 

The topic itself denominates it as "the problem of property 
holdings." There can be no question that this is a factor which 
must be considered in the movement for union, yet I am satis- 
fied, possessing as we do an overwhelming conviction that it is 
our duty as Christian brethren of the same household of faith 
to see that unification is an accomplished fact, we will not let a 
spirit of commercialism or dollar-and-cents policy interpose a 
separating barrier. 

Our task is of a spiritual source and the general welfare of 
humanity, not the material things of life. Yet it must be ad- 
mitted with shame-facedness that Lot of ancient days selected 
the fertile plains toward Sodom and compelled his uncle Abra- 
ham to accept the mountainous country which was left as his 
allotment in the partition of the lands. Ahab also longed for 
the luscious vineyard of Naboth. Nearly all wars had their 
origin in desire for greater territorial expansion. The present 
European war is but an exponent of this principle. 

We are informed that the constitution of feuds derived its 
origin from the military policy of the Northern or Celtic 
nations, the Goths, the Huns, the Franks, the Vandals, and 
the Lombards, who brought it from their own original countries 
and continued it in their respective colonies as the most likely 



UNION OE AMERICAN METHODISM 341 

means to secure their own acquisitions. To that end large dis- 
tricts, or, as we would say in modern parlance, large sections or 
quarter sections, were allotted by the conquering general to the 
superior officers of the army, and by them dealt out in smaller 
parcels or allotments to the inferior officers or most deserving 
soldiers. William the Norman introduced this system into Eng- 
land as a part of the national constitution. It was the instinct 
of self-preservation which led to the adoption of the feudal policy 
on the part of the several states of Continental Europe and this 
was doubtless done to constrain the great body of Saxon clans 
to consent ultimately to exchange their comparatively free land- 
holdings for the military tenures aforesaid of the Normans. 
Our English ancestors probably designed nothing more than a 
system of military defense, as we patriotically put it to-day. 

Enough of this, and to come directly to the General Confer- 
ence of the Methodist Episcopal, South, which met in 1874 at 
Louisville, when three ministers and two laymen were appointed 
to meet a similar commission authorized by the General Con- 
ference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to adjust all existing 
difficulties as to property rights of the two respective churches. 
The joint and historical commission met at Cape May, August 
17-23, 1876, and, as McTyeire says in his History of Methodism, 
pages 683, et seq. : "and after prayerful and patient deliberation, 
upon terms which were accepted as a finality by the ensuing Gen- 
eral Conferences of both churches, conflicting claims to property 
were adjudicated by the joint commission both on general prin- 
ciples and in special cases; and directions were laid down regu- 
lating the occupation of places as well as property." 

In the very beginning of their labors the joint commission 
adopted without a dissenting voice a basis and declaration of 
the relations of the two churches which it is well for us in this 
day and generation to reproduce for our edification and intelli- 
gent guidance, which is as follows: "Each of said churches is 
a legitimate branch of episcopal Methodism in the United States, 
having a common origin in the Methodish Episcopal Church 
organized in 1784; and since the organization of the Methodist 



342 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Episcopal Church, South, was consummated in 1846, by the 
voluntary exercise of the right of the Southern Annual Con- 
ferences, ministers and members, to adhere to that communion, 
it has been an evangelical church, reared on scriptural founda- 
tions, and her ministers and members, with those of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, have constituted one Methodist family, 
though in distinct connections." How brotherly even in 1876! 
How about the good year 1916 ? 

This was followed by the Supreme Court of the United 
States in the noted case in which, among other things, it was 
held by said court: "That the General Conference of 1844 was 
competent to make it [the division] ; and that each division of 
the church, under the separate organization, is just as legitimate 
and can claim as high a sanction, ecclesiastical and temporal, 
as the Methodist Episcopal Church first founded in the United 
States. The same authority which founded that church in 1784 
has divided it, and established two separate and independent 
organizations, occupying the place of the old one." This is an 
exemplification of law based on reason. The outgrowth of this 
joint resolution, it may be remarked parenthetically, gave birth 
to and had its flowering in the Ecumenical Methodist Confer- 
ence of September 7, 1881, in which were represented twenty- 
eight different denominations and about five millions of living 
members, who preached or heard the gospel in thirty languages. 

However, still pursuing the action of the Cape May joint com- 
mission, it may be incidentally remarked that the outcome in 
some cases was far from being satisfactory, and it would have 
been well for the peace of both parties and the honor of Chris- 
tianity if they had been more equitably observed. 

The proposition before the churches in 1876 related to the 
allaying of local irritations, occupation of property and deter- 
mining property disputes, with reference to the separate contin- 
uance only of the relations then existing between the churches; 
whereas, the problem for our solution of church holdings respects 
and has to do entirely with one reunited church completely uni- 
fied and having surrendered and merged its former identity for 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 343 

the common good of all concerned into one homogeneous whole. 
In these circumstances my task becomes more congenial and at 
the same time more feasible. 

There could be no diminution of our hospitals, which stretch 
forth their helping hands to suffering humanity — these are well 
located and should doubtless be continued as and where they 
exist. The management under new relations might be changed, 
dependent upon the acts of incorporation or the charter. More 
hospitals are needed and in good time will follow. The same 
is true of our orphanages, homes for the aged and institutions 
of kindred character. Our publishing houses are very neces- 
sary to the propagation of the great work to be done and, it 
would seem, are well located at strategic points that could not 
possibly arouse any friction. 

The educational institutions of both churches, male and 
female, universities, colleges, institutes, academies, and prepara- 
tory schools, are really not enough in number to conflict with 
the interests of like institutions of our churches. An examina- 
tion of the territory covered will demonstrate the wisdom of 
their several locations. It is true the curriculum may be modi- 
fied and new relations may produce greater and better correlation 
of the institutions. But these, with selection of chancellors, 
presidents, managers, and trustees, are mere matters of detail. 
Further endowments, devises, and equipment will receive due con- 
sideration. Other institutions may and must be provided for at 
important points, but this will receive proper attention when the 
whole situation is viewed and known. These remarks are alike 
applicable to training and mission schools as to hospitals and 
educational institutions. All species of church property not 
enumerated heretofore worthy of our consideration are churches 
and parsonages, local and district. How about these "as factors 
to be considered in the movement for union" ? 

By the law of at least Christian elimination we can exclude 
this character of property in the North, New England, many 
of the Western and Northwestern and Southern States. Where 
Southern Methodism has not gone or did not formerly go there 



3U A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

are, comparatively speaking, very few churches or parsonages 
that conflict in their proximity to each other. The same should 
be said of the Methodist Episcopal Church. If there is conflict 
or friction by reason of covering the same area or territory and 
therefore unnecessary, the one making the other struggle for an 
existence or requiring for its maintenance missionary appropria- 
tions, then the weaker one should be disestablished. This is 
Christian economics. 

How? Well, we should say first by vote or action of the two 
churches, the majority, all other things being equal, should con- 
trol. Certainly the principles of our holy religion would domin- 
ate. Arbitration could be resorted to, or if the Federal Council 
of the two churches is continued as now constituted with its 
present or increased powers of jurisdiction all of these diffi- 
culties and problems would be adjudicated after having the 
merits of the cases presented according to the mode of pro- 
cedure as already adopted by the Federal Council. It should 
be understood, in order to secure equity and harmony, each 
church should have equal voice in all matters, so that the 
weaker body would not lose its rights or suffer from numerical 
weakness. This would be palpable injustice. There must be 
equality of basis to insure strength and unanimity. 

Have we too many churches in certain localities — three where 
one will suffice? Then two must give way and all three be 
merged into one church organization. This is the thing; the 
object being not to fritter away unnecessarily our slender 
resources, but to use these in the construction of edifices where 
now none exist and yet the demand is urgent. It is to conserve 
the missionary and church extension appropriations that mighty 
things be done and mightier achievements be undertaken in the 
interests of our world-famed, beloved Methodism. 

It should be recognized that some gifts, devises, or charters may 
be so conditioned that it will require judicial or legislative 
action by the States or the Congress of the United States to 
adjust the same to new conditions. Titles to property generally 
must correspond with the name of the church adopted, whether 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 345 

that be the Methodist Church in America, as recommended by 
the committee on church relations of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, or in the name of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. There must be legal conformity with the name 
adopted, whatever that may be, to make it correspond at least 
with the ecclesiastical legislation of the supreme body of the 
church, and the situs of the property. 

In my humble opinion, as a member of the Federal Council 
of the Churches since the same was organized, the unification 
of the different Methodist bodies in one will not be retarded by 
problems of property holdings, nor creed, nor church polity, nor 
the laity of the churches, but by non-progressives who are too 
old to forget and by those who are too young to recognize the full 
significance of such a glorious consummation, or perhaps by 
modern so-called church historians. Some of these are injur- 
ious to the cause, and a weariness to the flesh as well as spirit. 

The last General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, was unanimous in its action and sincere in its 
intention. The aforesaid recommendations are to be acted upon 
by the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in May, 1916, and the whole world are the absorbed spectators. 
If the action taken is accepted in its entirety or approximately 
so, the end is accomplished, but if stickling modifications are 
made it may mean the defeat of the whole purpose and would 
most assuredly postpone action for future General Conferences 
of the respective churches. 

The times are rife for present action and there should be no 
hair-splitting distinctions nor hesitation for a more opportune 
period. Let us be careful how we treat the Ark of the Covenant 
of the Lord. Behold, we are on holy ground! Our property 
shall perish and commingle with stone, wood, brick and mortar 
into indistinguishable dust. All material things shall pass away 
as a scroll and be forgotten. But the immaterial and spiritual 
are immortal. 

We would a thousand times better not seek a solution of prob- 
lems of property holdings if in the solution discord will ensue, 



346 A WORKING CONFERENCE 

but rather permit the respective churches to make such use and 
adjustment of the holdings as will subserve the very best possible 
good of the church and the glory of God; all of the time, how- 
ever, remembering that episcopal Methodism, North, South, East, 
and West, is purely connectional. Therefore, all are, or may be, 
directly interested some time in these holdings. 

Personally, if some of the remedies or suggestions herein con- 
tained are accepted or controlled, I have no apprehension but that 
an equitable basis will be adopted to the best interests of all con- 
cerned. 

"Let all that look for hasten 

The coming joyful day 
By earnest consecration — 

To walk the Narrow Way, 
By gathering in the lost ones, 

For whom our Lord did die; 
For the crowning day is coming 
By and by." 



THE PROBLEM: 
CONNECTIONAL ENTERPRISE 

THOMAS NICHOLSON, D.D., 

Secretary of the Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal 

Church 



THE PEOBLEM: CONNECTIONAL ENTERPRISES 
Thomas Nicholson, D.D. 

The writer has been asked to investigate the problems involved 
in the possible merging of the benevolent boards and a possible 
unification of the missionary, philanthropic, and educational 
enterprises of the different Methodist bodies immediately con- 
cerned in the proposed union of Methodist churches. He has 
been asked to summarize the results and if possible to indicate 
how, in the case of union, these boards and the benevolent funds 
intrusted to them could be adjusted with reference to increased 
efficiency and economy. 

It is a difficult subject, for a variety of reasons. In some cases 
adequate statistics and reports are not available. We have pre- 
pared and present herewith a series of maps and charts showing 
in graphic form, which the eye may easily catch, the outstanding 
facts. Each chart indicates the sources of information upon 
which we have drawn. These reports are not absolutely accu- 
rate, so that these tables are not final and absolutely correct. 
In a few cases we have corrected from personal knowledge 
or as the result of correspondence and interviews. Any expert 
studying our tables will find minor error s» but they are an 
accurate presentation of the facts as the reports mentioned 
show them, and they are approximately correct. They are suffi- 
ciently accurate for the purpose in hand. If any member of 
this body examining them will hand us a slip indicating possible 
corrections, we shall endeavor to perfect the tables and reports 
before publication. I think we shall find the results as now 
given most illuminating. 

I. In many cases very much would depend on the type of 

the plan of union proposed and the facts as thus presented are 

in several instances quite eloquent on that subject. We fully 

349 



350 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

appreciate the fact that the charters of benevolent boards are 
involved and that, as has been pointed out by other speakers, the 
legal questions involved are commanding and in some instances 
intricate. We have assumed that such phases of the subject 
would be covered by others. 

The workers on the field are concerned. There are personal 
equations and problems of administration which we have not 
attempted to discuss, judging from the program that they 
would be fully covered in addresses such as that of Bishop 
Hendrix. We have tried to exhibit in forms easy to be grasped 
certain typical facts, to make an exhibit of the missionary, edu- 
cational, and other benevolent organizations of the three 
churches, and to indicate where they supplement each other, 
where union would make congestion and consequent need of 
adjustment, and where the cases would be acute. 

One chart shows the location of all the colleges under the 
auspices of these churches. Another chart shows the second- 
ary schools. Other special educational institutions are indicated 
by appropriate designations. Junior colleges, of which the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has quite a number, are 
separately indicated. 

(1) Education in the United States. Our study shows that 
our educational foundations are as follows: 

Methodist Episcopal Church ... 100 

Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 99 

Methodist Protestant Church ... . . 7 

These institutions fall into general groups: (a) colleges and 
professional schools; (b) theological seminaries; (c) academies 
and lower schools. Detailed items will be found on the charts 
submitted. 

In the field of higher education there are twenty-three States 
unoccupied by the Methodist Episcopal Church, thirty-four 
unoccupied by the Southern Methodist Church, and forty-four 
by the Methodist Protestant Church. A unification of Method- 
ism would leave twelve States entirely unoccupied. One very 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 351 

decided objection to the plan of union by division which has been 
proposed and which has been tentatively approved by the 
Southern General Conference is that it would throw all or 
nearly all this undeveloped territory into one division and that 
a division or section least able in men, money, and institutions 
to provide for its development. 

In the field of secondary education there are twenty-five 
States unoccupied by the Methodist Episcopal Church, thirty-six 
unoccupied by the Southern Church, forty-eight unoccupied by 
the Methodist Protestant. A unification would leave twenty- 
one States entirely unoccupied in this respect. 

Another chart shows a table of valuations for buildings, 
grounds, and endowment; shows the total student enrollment, 
and back of these we have, if desired, our surveys of separate 
States such as Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, from which 
we could answer for this body almost any reasonable question. 
These show, for instance, the whole high school situation, and 
the relation of the denominational colleges to State institutions. 
They show by counties the total number of students in all insti- 
tutions of higher learning from every county in a given State. 
We remark in passing that we have only begun the work of 
higher education. There are large and rich counties in some of 
these States with not half a dozen students of college grade 
going anywhere. The time is ripe for a great united forward 
educational movement. We could easily double the attendance 
on all the institutions of higher learning of all the churches 
in question, if we made the right kind of effort. 

II. Concerning the amalgamation of the educational work we 
offer the following observations : 

1. The union of the three churches would offer very few seri- 
ous problems from the angle of the location of educational insti- 
tutions. In this, as in almost every other particular, Missouri 
would be the point of greatest congestion and of greatest fric- 
tion. In a few places amalgamations would be necessary and a 
relocation of the amalgamated institutions at a more strategic 
center might be desirable. This seems to your speaker to be 



352 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

particularly true in Missouri, but generally speaking all the 
institutions of each church could be used. 

2. There would probably not need to be much change in the 
administrative boards so far as education is concerned. A revi- 
sion of charters would of course be necessary. But a Board of 
Education would certainly be needed in New York where the 
Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church now has its head- 
quarters, and Nashville would be a very desirable place in which 
a coordinate office could be directed. The Presbyterians have an 
office in New York, another in Philadelphia, another in Nash- 
ville, and another in Chicago. Even if as many offices as now 
exist were retained, there could be some conservation of funds 
and some economy of energy. My judgment is that it would 
be wise to add another branch office or two in case of union 
and push the educational work more vigorously than any of us 
have ever done. 

On the border line in Appalachian America, there would be 
a very little if any difficulty in making educational adjustments. 
It has been the policy of the Methodist Episcopal Church for the 
last eight years to place its schools where there was a genuine 
educational need, to move them if necessary to unoccupied 
centers, or to strengthen them at strategic points where there 
was real educational destitution. That board has kept constantly 
in mind the thought of a possible reorganization by union of 
the churches and has aimed to sustain its schools at points where 
they would be permanently needed if the churches united. Sev- 
eral amalgamations have been made and several schools discon- 
tinued under this policy because the territory was quite fully 
occupied by other educational forces. 

3. Such questions as the disposition of certain trust funds 
could only be settled after legal counsel. The Board of Educa- 
tion of the Methodist Episcopal Church has a loan fund for 
needy students of more than a million dollars. It would be a 
subject for legal advice as to whether, under the terms of the 
gifts, this fund, as now accumulated, could be used for students 
in the colleges of the other churches. If there were legal dim- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 353 

culties, it would be comparatively easy to confine the service of 
the accumulated fund to the colleges now belonging to the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, and to use only a percentage of the 
annual receipts of the Children's Day collection for such col- 
leges, thus allowing the new receipts to be devoted more 
largely to students in the colleges brought into the union by 
the other two churches. I think there would be no insuperable 
difficulties. 

4. The Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church has some vested funds which it is rapidly increasing. 
It is projecting a retiring allowance fund for teachers in its 
own colleges. Only legal advice would be competent to decide 
what could be done in the case of these funds, but no doubt they 
would be adjusted, if in no other way, by making them special 
endowments for the purposes for which they were originally 
intended. The same would be true of similar funds in the 
Church South or in the Methodist Protestant Church. With 
these special funds, held and directed very much as endowments 
are now held for special chairs or for library support in colleges, 
it would be comparatively easy to increase them to meet the needs 
not provided for, and the probability is that the conditions could 
be amended so as to have a new supplementary fund amply suffi- 
cient to care for the unprovided interests. 

5. There is another question of rather serious import. It 
arises out of the somewhat different ideals of college government 
in the Northern and Southern half of the country. The ques- 
tion of government and control of these church institutions is 
a very large one. If the present speaker correctly interprets, the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, has been quite inclined in 
recent years to insist upon a very close denominational control 
of its colleges. The Methodist Episcopal Church has been 
inclined more and more to the liberal policy. Many of its college 
boards are entirely self-perpetuating bodies. We recently ex- 
amined the charters of all the colleges of that body. We found 
no uniformity. There are almost as many forms of charters as 
there are colleges. It is a fine field for a scientific study because 



354 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

it gives us opportunity to estimate the value of almost every 
conceivable form of organization and government from actual 
facts as they work out in daily practice. It is the judgment of 
the present speaker that no form of government and control yet 
devised is entirely satisfactory. Whether it would be desirable 
to attempt a somewhat uniform method of control of colleges, 
whether anything of the sort would be possible if attempted, 
are questions which cannot be academically decided. The ques- 
tion is, however, one of grave moment to the church at large, 
indeed, to the nation. The present condition is not satisfactory. 
There is wide difference of opinion. There is utter lack of uni- 
formity. In many cases there is not sufficient permanent guar- 
antee for that liberty of thought and that academic freedom 
which are indispensable to higher education. On the other hand, 
it is our conviction that in many colleges founded and fostered 
by the church there are not adequate safeguards in matters of 
control and direction. There are no proper assurances that 
when these colleges become fairly rich and amply endowed they 
will not utterly secularize and almost entirely depart from the 
high purpose for which they were created. 

The proper procedure would appear to be to have a represen- 
tative commission appointed which should first study with care 
the charter of every existing institution, note the differences, 
and the similarities, the strength and the weaknesses, and which 
should report, if possible, on what forms of charter seem to be 
producing the best results, and give the church such further 
suggestions as they could gather by the study of every available 
fact. Out of that study we might hope to evolve two or three, 
possibly four or five desirable forms of government and control. 
In my judgment there must necessarily be flexibility. I do not 
think it would be wise to place all our colleges in all parts of 
the country under exactly the same form of direction and con- 
trol. Ideals and traditions differ. The relations to other educa- 
tional organizations differ. The sentiments of the people differ. 
The traditions of the institutions themselves are different. 
Alternative forms of control would be better than the attempt to 



UNION OF AMEBICAN METHODISM 355 

devise a single uniform system, but great benefit would come 
from the work of such a comjnission if wisely selected and judi- 
ciously directed. In this way it is the judgment of your speaker 
that some of the most difficult and delicate questions touching 
the educational work could be satisfactorily disposed of. These, 
however, are questions of administrative policy to be settled from 
within after union rather than antecedent to it. 

III. Turning now to the missionary enterprise, we present 
herewith a series of tables showing the number of stations occu- 
pied by each church, the number of foreign missionaries in these 
stations, the value of property holdings by each church separ- 
ately, the missionary appropriation of each, and other informa- 
tion of that sort. We present also the most complete exhibit 
of the educational work of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
the foreign field which has ever been made. How impossible it 
would be for us to present a similar statement for the Church 
South will appear when we state that we have been four years 
gathering material for this report now on the press. We have 
had an expert jointly representing the Board of Foreign Mis- 
sions and the Board of Education visit every mission school in 
Africa and bring the results of personal observation during the 
past year. We have had the results of the personal inspection of 
Dr. Goucher and Dr. Gamewell for our work in China, in addi- 
tion to the reports from the field. We have had the personal 
assistance of Dr. George Heber Jones, so long connected with 
our work in Korea, as to the schools in Korea and Japan, and 
similarly for the other fields. We have also had access to the 
statistics of a vast amount of information accumulated by the 
International Committee of the Young Men's Christian Asso- 
ciation, through the kindness of the private secretary of Dr. 
John E. Mott. Our survey department has been working for 
more than a year at the specific problem of bringing together 
and coordinating these facts. They are too voluminous to be 
published in the report of this body, but they will be available 
in printed form in the quadrennial report of the Board of Edu- 
cation to the General Conference of 1916. 



356 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

The religious work of the world in foreign fields is now pretty 
well partitioned among the respective churches and denomina- 
tions. Of the geographical sections which seem to us most easily 
apprehended, there are twelve large areas in which no one of 
these Methodist churches has work, namely, Siberia, Turkey, 
Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Afghanistan, and Turkestan, and in addi- 
tion all of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most of the 
islands of the sea are not considered. The sections occupied and 
therefore shown are, Cuba, Europe, India, Malaysia, the Philip- 
pine Islands, Porto Rico, Africa, Korea, Mexico, South America, 
China, and Japan. The divisions are somewhat arbitrarily de- 
termined by the location and character of our work. Of these 
twelve divisions, China and Japan are occupied by all three 
denominations; Africa, Korea, Mexico, and South America by 
the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, and the remainder by the Methodist Episcopal 
Church only. In only five cities of the world outside of the 
continental United States is there common territory. Three of 
these are in Japan, one in Korea, and one in Mexico. Our work 
in the foreign field seems to present no serious problem to deter 
us from union. 

Here are charts and maps showing the fields occupied and 
where the three bodies have cooperating or competing work. 
There are those on the program who will be able to speak of all 
these from actual personal observation of the mission fields; but 
so far as the reports and tables show, the adjustment of the 
work in the foreign field is comparatively easy. There is very 
little overlapping. There is comparatively small need of amal- 
gamation and combination. The policy of division of territory 
on the foreign field seems to have produced very desirable results, 
I have treated the missionary work very much less fully because 
I noted that masters of that subject like Bishop Hendrix and 
Dr. John F. Goucher would deal with the foreign field, and thai 
others of equal knowledge and experience were to deal with th( 
home fields. I have not attempted any exhibit of the Negro wori 
excepting one college chart, because that seemed to me from th< 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 357 

program to be fully covered by those especially assigned to that 
subject. 

IV The problem of the home missionary work is more com- 
plicated. In the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the home 
and foreign work is administered by a single Board, as was 
formerly done in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Now the 
Methodist Episcopal Church has two large and distinct boards, 
one administering its foreign, the other administering its home 
work. There has not been time to gather the multitude of facts 
which need to be considered under this head, and it has not 
seemed wise to make the attempt. The home work and its 
adjustments, including Sunday schools and deaconess work, are 
so intimately related to the plan of union, to any possible division 
of territory, and to other matters of that sort that any special 
study to be of value must be based on a prospective plan. Numer- 
ous attempts of this sort have been made and published. The 
church press in the last year or two has been giving much 
information. The members of this body representative of all 
sections of the country are able to speak from personal observa- 
tion and experience. If, however, such a study and such an 
exhibit as we have made for the foreign work, the educational 
work, and the philanthropic work, is desired for the home work, 
it can be prepared and added. 

V Here are similar tables for hospitals, orphanages, old 
people's homes, and other philanthropic institutions. 

(2) Orphanages. The orphanages are as follows: 

Methodist Episcopal Church .... 19 

Methodist Episcopal Church, South 14 

Methodist Protestant Church ... . . 1 

Again, Missouri and North Carolina are the commonly occu- 
pied States. However, the work in this field is practically amal- 
gamated, at least it is unified. The organization which has 
accomplished this is the Methodist Child Welfare Society, which 
includes in the list over which it has general supervision orphan- 
ages of both the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist 



358 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Episcopal Church, South. The income of this society is so 
insignificant as compared with the budgets of our boards of 
foreign missions and boards of education that it might be passed 
over without the attention it deserves, for here we have an illus- 
tration of the working of something like a united benevolence. 
In the early days of Methodism the societies gave much atten- 
tion to work for children and orphans. 

(3) Hospitals. The hospitals are limited to the two larger 
denominations and are as follows : 

Methodist Episcopal Church. .. .... 33 

Methodist Episcopal Church, South. .. .. 5 

Again, Missouri is common territory. Elsewhere there is no 
duplication of work and no danger of overlapping. Of the 
thirty-three institutions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
twenty-three are under the direction of the General Deaconess 
Board. Excepting the one in Missouri, the hospitals of the 
Southern Church are south of the Ohio River. The thirty-three 
institutions of the Methodist Episcopal Church extend from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific and are thoroughly well distributed over 
the area north of the Mason and Dixon line. 

The union of the churches would give Methodism a very ade- 
quate system. It would seem from the data presented that the 
Methodist Episcopal Church has been more active in these lines 
in recent years than have the other churches, but there are off- 
setting facts and reasons, and it would simply be a question of 
pushing the work until all sections of the country are as well 
supplied as some sections now are. 

VI. The chief difficulty about the philanthropic work would 
seem to be the disparity in the holdings. These tables show a 
new necessity for an adequately fair plan of safeguarding the 
rights and the property of the minority in the union. It is more 
than an academic or a sentimental question. The Methodist 
Episcopal Church shows a total of thirty-three hospitals, while 
the Southern Church shows five, and the Methodist Protestant 
two. The value of the plants is m the first instance, roundly 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 359 

$5,000,000 ; in the second, about two and one-half millions. The 
Methodist Episcopal Church would seem to have by far the 
larger number of institutions, but the Church South, aside from 
two institutions, would seem to have the better properties. On 
the other hand, the endowments for these hospitals are in the 
first case about two and one half million, in the second case, 
roundly, one million. It makes an average endowment of about 
$200,000 for each hospital of the Church South, and an average 
of less than $100,000 for the institutions of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. This disparity arises from the fact that while 
the Methodist Episcopal Church has a goodly number of well 
equipped and quite well endowed hospitals, such as Wesley Hos- 
pital, Chicago, Seney Hospital in Brooklyn, and others which 
might be mentioned, it has in the last ten or twelve years begun 
a large number of new enterprises which are still in the initial 
stages. They are in the period of struggle. Some of these, how- 
ever, are rapidly coming to efficiency and will soon be amply 
endowed. 

The survey shows, therefore, no serious difficulties to union 
from the interests of the benevolent boards. Their combined 
work would make a most inspiring nation-wide and world-wide 
combination. There would be substantially nothing to lose, little 
to readjust, and considerable to gain in economy of administra- 
tion and better mobilization of the forces. 



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UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 363 



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A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



ACADEMIf.5 AND GRADE SCHOOLS 



5 TUDENTV3 



ME 



Cimmtn Tmilwv 



7699 



Sff*r«*« T«»»!*»»y 



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V. 



9 States— common Ty. 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 



367 



Academies and Grape .Schools 



Income 



Comwon Ttrfitory 



ME- 



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71 4 .000 mm ooo 



* 



300,000 



S«p&»i"U Territory 



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ACAPEMIES ANP GRAPE SCHOOLS 

PROTERTY ANP F"UNP5 



I Cwmo«T««H«ry 



CTDStptrdU Territory 



M«P*' * 6,309.000 
M.P.Q. * 2333,000 

MP ? 



mm 


4,709,000 



IKflXM-J 


733J9M 



MS A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



FOREIGN FIELDS 

Se parate Territory me- mes m-p- 

Cuba X 

Europe X 

India X 

Malaysia X 

Philipine Islands X 

Porto Rico X 

Common Territory 

Africa. X X 

Chirva XXX 

Japaix XXX 

Korea X X 

Mexico X X 

So. America X X 



Foreign Field 

PropertyValuatkms 



S Million lO Million 



Ml? 15 T9!C*rmm 
T/'MjI Mr9KiwSfm S^p9L"*-9k. €> Territory 



MM I 



&90.000 



0,000 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 369 



Foreign Missionary 
Stations 



MX 1 . \1A. T3SSSZEA Bl fStfoaratg 



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SEPARATE 
TERRITORY 



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MP- »1 



370 



A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



HOSPITALS 

Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, Methodist 

Protestant Churches 



v. 




M-E-W.33 
M-ESC4) 5 



HOSPITALS 

Number Value Endowment 

ME- 33 *5000,00Q *24OQ00Q 
M-E5- 5 2400,000. 1.00QOOQ 



Missouri is Common Territory 
One Hospital for each denomination 



U]\ T ION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 



371 



ORPHANAGES 

Number- Pr6 pert y - Endowment 

M- \9 *2BOO,000. h $0,000. 
MfS 14 1,500,000. 122,000. 
MP« 1 

Missouri and NXarolina- Common Territory 

ME^MP- leach: ME5- 2orphanag,es. 



v. 



ORPHANAGES 
Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, Methodist 

Protestant Churches 




me* i9. 

M.ES. A U 



THE COMPARATIVE VALUES OF 
FEDERATION AND ORGANIC 

UNION 

CHARLES M. BISHOP, D.D., 
President of Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas 

C. H. PHILLIPS, D.D., 
Bishop of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church 

FRANCIS J. McCONNELL, D.D., 
Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church 



THE COMPARATIVE VALUES OE FEDERATION 
AND ORGANIC UNION 

Charles M. Bishop, D.D. 

The approaches toward each other in the spirit of fraternity 
and fellowship of separated members of the body of Christ are 
surely impelled by the vital power which resides in him who is 
the Head over all things to his church. And we may well believe 
that every movement on the part of either branch of episcopal 
Methodism in the direction of sympathetic association and co- 
operation, from the days of Lovick Pierce and the General Con- 
ference of 1848 down to this pregnant hour, has had its value 
in the evidence afforded of the indwelling of the Spirit of 
Christ in the sundered branches of the one body to which both 
originally belonged, and in the slow and often painful but sure 
process of the healing of the breach between them. 

True, these various movements have sometimes seemed only 
to aggravate and further inflame the wounds which ached in 
the dissevered members, and some of them were apparently futile 
and unavailing at the time. The nerve centers could not func- 
tion normally through the separated fragments of the body. But 
as after the slow lapse of the time of suffering the value of the 
painful knitting of the wound is at length revealed, so now we 
see across the years, with correct appraisal of their worth, the 
vital and healing intention and effect of fraternal messages and 
treaty-making commissions and federal councils and confer- 
ences concerning union. As one reflects upon these movements 
he cannot avoid the impression that they are to be judged by 
a rising scale of values. They follow each other in the order 
and with the significance of steps which mount from the plane 
of misunderstanding and separation, one after the other toward 

the high Christian platform of unity and completeness of sym- 

375 



376 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

pathy and cooperation. The earlier steps, great achievements as 
they were in the time of their devising, are seen now to be valu- 
able chiefly in the fact that they led to higher steps. The final 
"riser" (to use the builder's word) has been the movement, pro- 
ceeding now for twenty years, called federation. Upon the plat- 
form which it supports two of the churches here represented now 
profess to stand; but there persists in many minds the question 
whether it may not be that another step to a still higher plane 
called "organic union" is required in order that they may live 
together most happily and efficiently in "the unity of the faith 
and of the knowledge of the Son of God." 

To compare the values of the relationship between the churches 
under what they have agreed to call federation to those of the 
conditions which are only dreamed of and hoped for under 
organic union is not a task which can be pursued in accordance 
with strictly scientific methods. History is a science. Present 
conditions may be scientifically surveyed. But prophecy has 
not been reduced to a science. Outside of mathematical astron- 
omy the future is still problematical, and the known terms of 
the problem are insufficient. However, I venture to undertake 
the task assigned me with the understanding that I may discuss 
the two diverse sides of the comparison in accordance with the 
principles which are respectively applicable to them. That is, 
I am to deal with Methodist federation in the light of its history 
and of the existing facts; and with organic union as a problem 
of the future, by eliminating from its statement every factor 
of uncertainty which can be removed, and with such light as 
can be had from the example of a few instances of church union. 

As more generally used among American churches the word 
"federation" means the combination and cooperation of churches, 
divergent in doctrine and polity, in those Christian activities in 
which all alike are interested; and in some places it goes so far 
locally as to bring about united worship and cooperative congre- 
gational economy. As between the Methodist Episcopal churches 
in the United States, occupying in the main different fields terri- 
torially but identical in doctrine and forms of worship, and so 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 377 

nearly the same in polity that only specialists discern the differ- 
ence between them, the word means what we have made it 
mean. It was, in fact, originally an attempt to deal with the 
warring status quo by parley. It contemplated some authori- 
tative adjustment of local rivalries between congregations of the 
two churches in territory occupied by both, and the prevention 
of the multiplication of these rivalries. It was the outgrowth 
of the recognition of the actually scandalous situation along the 
border and in those portions of the South which had been pene- 
trated in its "white work" by the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
In many localities in this region antagonistic views concerning 
the rights and the legitimacy of the two churches, inflamed by 
political and sectional prejudices and complicated by much 
ignorance on both sides, made bitter and intolerant enemies of 
their respective representatives. Federation was an attempt to 
reach some agreement by which this scandal could be allayed. 
In practice it turned out to be, to a considerable extent, an effort 
upon the part of the representatives of each church to enforce its 
own interpretation of the Plan of Separation of the General Con- 
ference of 1844 and of the agreements of the Cape May com- 
mission ; but this is now granted to be impossible. Progress has 
been made, but slowly. In a considerable number of instances, 
however, the entrance of one church into a small community 
where the other was judged to be doing the work of Methodism 
has been prevented, and weak churches have been withdrawn 
usually in pairs one from one church and one from the other in 
different communities. 

After many years of comparative inefficiency, due to the diffi- 
culties of the case, the joint commission on federation has at 
length been developed into the Federal Council, "with power to 
hear and finally determine all cases of conflict or misunderstand- 
ing between the two branches anf Methodism." Elaborate regu- 
lations for procedure have been adopted. But it is not too much 
to say that the large majority of those best acquainted with 
the duties of the council and the rules under which it proposes 
to operate are convinced that it can neither satisfactorily settle 



378 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

the actual cases of conflict between the churches nor bring about 
a general relation of peace and harmony. The truth is that the 
main reason for the existence of the Federal Council and the 
assignment of its chief task as such are predicated upon the 
assumption of the continuance of cases of conflict and misunder- 
standing between the churches concerned. A method is thereby 
provided for the abatement of certain disagreeable consequences 
of a war that is to be perpetual and of some of the more obviously 
outrageous exhibitions of denominational rivalry which denom- 
inational zeal will continue to inspire. Conceived of as a per- 
manent arrangement for the adjustment of the relations be- 
tween these churches it leaves us facing the possibility of innu- 
merable cases of irritation such as are not likely to arise between 
any other two denominations of Christians whatever, and thus 
to keep the Methodism of the United States in a ferment of 
unrest and thereby hampered in its effectiveness in a great part 
of the nation, not to speak of the spiritual impoverishment which 
will inevitably result. 

Notwithstanding what has just been said, the movement be- 
tween these churches which has gone forward under federation 
has not been without value to them both and to Methodism as 
a whole. 

(1) There has been in it a frank confession of evil condi- 
tions for which both sides were to blame and a conscientious 
attempt, however ineffectual, to cure them. And this has led 
to an increasing recognition of the anomalous and spiritually 
injurious situation into which we Methodists have fallen. 

We are not, strictly speaking, two denominations with distinct 
messages of our own; we are in part of the country rival organ- 
izations of the same denomination, jealous and antagonistic to 
each other; and in another aspect of the case are denying the 
people of our faith in different sections of our common country 
the privilege of belonging to the same church. Such federation 
as we have had has enabled us to see this more clearly. 

(2) Through the agency of our plan of federation leading 
representatives of the two churches have been brought into asso- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 379 

ciation and conference concerning matters of great importance 
in which they were equally concerned and which they could 
view sympathetically. At the same time they have, in getting 
better acquainted with each other, come to a better understand- 
ing of each other's point of view. If I may venture to particu- 
larize I think I may say that the Northern men who have taken 
part in these conferences can now more nearly sympathize with 
the Southern contention concerning the proper authorization 
and the meaning of the Plan of Separation of 1844. And I 
believe the Southern men hold in higher respect the ruling 
motives which brought the Northern church into the South 
after the Civil War; and I know that they can now more fully 
appreciate the practical impossibility of the withdrawing of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church from certain parts of the South in 
which it has established itself in respectable strength among a 
willing people. 

(3) I have already referred to the fact that federation has 
operated in a few cases to prevent the establishment of a local 
congregation of one of the churches in the immediate vicinity 
of one of the other. And this has been a distinct gain. 

(4) The outstanding and most valuable concrete achieve- 
ments of federation have been the production of a common hymn 
book, a common catechism, a common order of worship, the 
establishment of a union publishing house in China and the 
union of the Methodisms of Japan into one church. By these 
great acts the movement which we have called federation, with 
all the trouble and expense it has entailed, has been more than 
justified. Some things have been done in these cases entirely 
to the credit of both churches, some things that will never 
need to be undone. But I cannot forbear to point out that 
they have been, in effect and in fact, as far as they have gone, 
acts of union — in the case of the Chinese publishing house and 
of Japanese Methodism confessedly so, and practically so in 
the matter of the hymnal and catechism and order of worship. 
In these latter there is nowhere the aspect of compromise or 
accommodation to divergent points of view. They represent 



380 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

united Methodism, all differences of opinion concerning them 
being obviously personal and not denominational or sectional. 
And they are illustrative not only of the oneness of Methodism 
but of the efficiency and economic advantage of union. And 
the conclusion inevitably suggests itself that federation is of 
value chiefly in the fact that and in so far as it leads to union. 

Perhaps I should add to what has been said that federation 
was intended by its originators and promoters in the South to 
provide for peaceful and brotherly relations between coordinate 
branches of the same church working under the obvious and 
important advantage of special adaptation each to its own field. 
This has always heretofore been the ideal of the South. But it 
has been found to be impracticable because judged impossible 
by the Methodist Episcopal Church. I now believe and proudly 
declare that the Church South is ready to make a generous, and 
what it regards as a tremendously important, concession in the 
sacrificing of this long cherished ideal, in view of the recognition 
of the insuperable difficulty in the way of such federation which 
the Methodist Episcopal Church encounters. At any rate it 
now proposes to you, brethren, "a more excellent way," and is 
ready to pass on with you to the next chapter of the book which 
is the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. 

Coming now to consider the values of organic union, I remind 
you again that at present it is only a dream and hope for the 
future. Who can evaluate with any precision the land which 
stretches hitherto unseen beyond the horizon of the advancing 
explorer ? Only by recourse to the known uniformities of nature 
can one find any reliable data at all. And any confidence which 
the adventurer may have concerning this undiscovered region 
must depend upon the elimination from the items of his prognos- 
tication of the elements of unknown value. Whether we can 
apply these principles to the problem which is before us may 
be questionable, but we can at least proceed as far as we can. 

The union of the churches will of course give us a much larger 
church — far outnumbering any single Protestant denomination 
in the United States. There would be nation-wide unity of name 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 381 

and organization; and we would be free from the disgrace of 
those local rivalries and antagonisms which are now in some 
places the inevitable outcome of our separate existence. Each 
of the present churches would then have participation in the 
glorious work of all our mission fields. There would certainly 
be economical and other advantages in the changed relations to 
each other of our educational institutions, our periodical publi- 
cations, and our publishing establishments ; and after the imme- 
diate cost of readjustment there would be possible additional 
economies of administration which clearly ought to be provided 
for and would be among the important valuable products of 
union. There would be increased facility of transfer of men 
from place to place, and undoubtedly, as a consequence, a broad- 
ening of the minds and sympathies of preachers and people. 

But with reference to some of these more or less certain results 
of union there may be questions in some minds as to their worth 
either to Christianity in general or to Methodism itself. Is it 
certain that bigness in an ecclesiastical body so highly organized 
as Methodism — especially episcopal Methodism — will make for 
efficiency in the work of evangelizing the nation ? Is it clear that 
spirituality is increased with size? Do kindness, lowliness, 
meekness, and forbearance, which are fruits of the spirit, grow 
with the growth of denominational numbers? It is true that 
the meek shall inherit the earth, but are the heirs of the largest 
portions of the earth the meekest of men? Is there no danger 
of denominational pride and bigotry and intolerance ? Are Meth- 
odists, now that we have become strong, any longer specially 
known by their humility of spirit? Have we always found each 
other humble, teachable, and mild? Do not we reciprocally 
indulge sly humor concerning the sensitive uppishness of the 
high-strung Southerner and the lordly bumptiousness of the 
typical Yankee Methodist ? Shall we be cured of it all when we 
are all united ? There are many who will take leave to doubt it. 
Other doubts will be felt also concerning the benefits of bigness. 
It is to be gravely questioned whether the special denominational 
interests of each separate section can be effectively supervised 



382 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

and administered in one great organization under our polity. 
There might arise a disposition to create a Methodist pope or one 
or more metropolitan archbishops. More likely there would be 
a reaction in the direction of a diocesan episcopacy -or perhaps 
toward a purely presbyterial government. Moreover, in this 
magnitudinous body, highly organized and more or less hier- 
archical in form, how are the rights of individual ministers to 
be protected against episcopal tyranny? and the rights of the 
minority against the despotism of a majority? how, indeed, the 
rights of the laymen, represented by one in ten thousand in a 
General Conference meeting for a month once in four years, 
against clerical domination, except indeed that the laymen con- 
trol the purse-strings which are sometimes a rather effectual 
instrument of freedom? Unquestionably the advantages sug- 
gested so far as they are dependent upon the bigness of the newly 
organized church are themselves contingent upon the presence of 
other factors which should somehow be discovered. 

Perhaps we can more safely advance in our discussion by 
another method, and by stating the hypothetical case of a union 
whose values are included in the terms of statement, can propose 
to ourselves to find our way somehow to this fair realm of 
peace and harmony which under the reign of the God of love 
and of his Christ is as sure as heaven if only we do find the way. 

Such a union, then, must be in accordance with the command- 
ments of God, which are very broad. There must be room in it 
for a great variety of sentiments and convictions concerning 
the things on which there now are differences. It must allow 
for varying interpretations of history and for varying sectional 
affections and ideals. We must remember that sectionalism is 
not confined to the South, nor to the North or East or West. 
Nor is it always necessarily a bad thing. It is often patriotism 
only reduced to lower terms. At all events it cannot be cured by 
edict, or in an hour or a year. Such a union should probably 
also be on terms broad enough to allow within certain limits 
varying views of ecclesiastical polity, though in this matter I 
do not conceive it impossible to reach by compromise a uniform 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 383 

working basis for an effective denominational polity. What I 
mean is that such differences, for instance, as obtain between 
the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, in their views of the episcopacy should not be 
allowed to prevent the union of the two if otherwise found 
possible. 

Again this union should provide against the danger with 
which mere bigness may threaten the spiritual life. God have 
mercy upon us, how shall we provide against that? Perhaps, 
in the first place, by making some very important sacrificial 
concessions in order to the creation of the union itself ; the spirit 
of sacrifice drives out bigotry and pride. Second, by guarding 
against that form of complete corporate solidarity which makes 
it possible without organic restraint or check for one immense 
organization by the mere sweep of a majority practically to 
ostracize a comparatively small minority of earnest protestants 
(let me pronounce it prot'estants in order to get its full implica- 
tion) or even trample upon their rights — simply because it (the 
majority) controls the machinery of the organization. It has 
not yet been written that ecclesiastical organizations are always 
moderate and charitable in the exercise of their power. 

Who can be sure, for instance, that a majority of the General 
Conference might not at some time impose a still more autocratic 
form of government upon the democratic West? The tendency 
in my judgment is in the other direction. But suppose the 
case. There would be no constitutional preventive, so far as 
I am aware, according to the polity of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. If that of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
obtained, the bishops might impose a veto which would at least 
delay the matter for awhile. But would they 9 

Now, to go a little further into the conditions of a union which 
can be properly evaluated, and found worth while, we shall have 
to be very reserved and prudent in all references to the history 
of separation and of controversies since separation. Unless by 
way of honest confession, on each side for itself, the less said 
about these things, the better. This applies especially to the two 



384 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

episcopal Methodist churches. I know that in taking this posi- 
tion I am opposing a dictum which has been until recently quite 
generally accepted in my own church. But I am compelled to 
believe that any discussion of the old issues between the churches 
would only lead to the renewal of the old controversies and 
would reawaken a feeling of unkindness which all of us would 
prefer to bury forever. These issues are not very interesting to 
most of the people now on earth, and are of very little importance 
to the spiritual concerns of the coming generations of the 
reunited church. I am perfectly sure that the representatives 
of either church will protect its good name and self-respect in 
any agreements which we may make with each other. And to 
be perfectly frank I am afraid if we were to go into that busi- 
ness that you would be able to bring as many outrageous charges 
against me as I could bring against you! We would probably 
neither of us believe half of what the other said, and there we 
would be; no progress made and new grounds of offense. No, 
brethren, we would better proceed as if our respective churches 
had each a record of perfect consistency up to this time in every 
way as good as men of our talents and under our circumstances 
could make it, and in the fear of God organize as best we can 
for our own time and for the future, letting the past be past. 

I have sought to indicate in this broad outline the kind of 
union which, in the first place, I believe to be practicable between 
the Methodist churches of the United States, and, in the second 
place, the values of which can be stated with some certainty and 
have indeed been more than hinted at in this paper. The organic 
union which is thus desiderated is in the main that outlined and 
provided for in the "suggestions" formulated by the joint com- 
mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, and the Methodist Protestant Church in 
the meeting held at Chattanooga, Tennessee, in May, 1911. 
This plan with slight changes has since been proposed by the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as the basis for further 
negotiations between the churches in order to their complete 
unification. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 385 

The values of organic union upon some such fundamental 
principles as these may, I think, with some definiteness be 
assessed. 

(1) In the first place, we will have one church; one in name, 
in polity, in conditions of membership, in ritual, in general con- 
nectional interests, enterprises, and officers, and one in the Gen- 
eral Conference which shall, under constitutional limitations, 
have full legislative power over all connectional matters. The 
organic oneness of such a church cannot be denied. 

(2) In the second place, provision will have been made for 
efficient administration through a subdivision of legislative and 
administrative work in the arrangement for Quadrennial Con- 
ferences which shall meet in separate jurisdictions. In these 
Conferences many things of importance can be done which 
would altogether overwhelm the General Conference if brought 
to it from all quarters. Too hasty legislative action can be pre- 
vented, and the number of important bills which die on the 
calendar can be decreased. Local interests can be guarded with 
much more efficient care, local sentiments regarded in matters 
that affect local concerns, and some of the dangers of bigness 
averted. 

If any shall continue to say, as unfortunately it has been said, 
that the proposed subdivision into jurisdictions with Quad- 
rennial Conferences will annul the organic unity of the church, 
I answer, that is not the intention and will not be the outcome. 
Lines between such various jurisdictions will no more affect the 
question of the oneness of the church than the boundaries of 
Annual Conferences do now, and no more impede the flow of 
Christian love than the invisible lines of conventional geography 
hinder the flow of the rivers or the movement of the tides. The 
one great purpose of this provision of the plan is to secure wise 
adaptation of the organization to the life of the people and effi- 
ciency of administration. 

(3) In such a united church there would be possible great 
economies in the use of men and money. Church papers might 
be consolidated and improved and made to render better service 



386 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

at less cost. The educational institutions of the church might 
be better systematized and some of them would doubtless be better 
supported. There would be greater economy in missionary 
administration and a great saving in church extension. One 
great theological journal or Review would serve the whole church. 
One Sunday school literature would be everywhere used. And 
on the whole fewer of our strongest men would be withdrawn 
from the pastorate to serve in special connectional relations. 
The abatement of duplications would give us more men and 
tend to do away with "supplies" and to raise the standard of 
efficiency in the ministry. 

(4) But the highest value of organic union upon some such 
plan as this would be found in the removal of unhappy rivalries 
and unchristian competition, in the joy of a reunited member- 
ship and ministry, in the sense of Christian triumph over old 
discord and bitterness, in the new access of religious vitality 
through the conjunction of the various streams of denomina- 
tional life, in the overwhelming victory of love over distrust 
and suspicion and faction in the achievement of the greatest 
unification of separated Christian forces in the history of the 
church. The far-reaching and gracious contagion of trustful 
friendship would spread from church to church, from section to 
section, from man to man, till there would be no North, no 
South, no East, no West in the love of Methodists, but all should 
be one in Christ Jesus. The respect of the world would be recov- 
ered. The mouth of scoffers and critics would be hushed. The 
impediment to closer relations between all Protestant Chris- 
tians which Methodist division has presented would be removed. 
The evils of sectionalism would be largely abolished; the union 
between once warring States in this nation would be all but per- 
fected. The appeal of the church for peace between nations 
would be tremendously strengthened. The influence of Protes- 
tant Christianity would be increased. Can any one doubt that 
the bliss of the fathers of the church would be augmented or 
that there would be joy in the presence of the angels of God ? 

Brethren of the Methodist Episcopal Church: Our two 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 387 

churches are identical in doctrine and have a common origin and 
a common life and history during the first sixty years of their 
existence. They differ in polity only in minor matters of execu- 
tive detail — insignificant evolutionary developments since their 
separation into two. They are to all intents and purposes the 
same church, confessedly so. They are not mother and 
daughter, they are not twin sisters, they are not even quite like 
branches from a common stock. They are like a tree rent in a 
storm throughout the length of its central trunk, but miracu- 
lously vital enough to preserve some abundance of life in the 
separated fragments, the branches from which stretch across each 
other in unsymmetrical entanglement. For the most part we 
have each of us been engaged in insisting that the branches from 
our side should be allowed to grow across the line of separation, 
however much of a snarl of sprigs and leaves they might produce, 
or however much, like parasitic growths, each should prey upon 
the other. Later, under the terms of federation, we have devel- 
oped a rather intricate machinery for trimming these entangled 
branches, each side guarding its own with jealous and suspicious 
care. We have not yet tried the skill of the "surgeon for trees" 
for the reunion of the separated and fragmentary bodies and 
the healing of the breach by a cement which would restore com- 
plete and vital union and which would make possible the pruning 
and training of the branches which would contribute at once 
both to symmetry and strength. Brethren, let us bring to- 
gether and heal the disjected members of this tree of ours, that 
it may more truly be called a "tree of righteousness, the planting 
of the Lord, that he may be glorified." 

There cannot be any doubt that he had the mind of Christ 
who long ago appealed to the discordant factions of the church 
which he himself loved most of all: "If there is therefore any 
comfort in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship 
of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions, fulfill ye 
my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being 
of one accord, of one mind; doing nothing through faction or 
through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other 



388 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, 
but each of you also to the things of others." Brethren, upon 
this basis if we will we can unite the separated fragments of our 
beloved Methodism into a whole, into a great, puissant, glorious 
church; beautiful, strong, majestic like a temple of the Lord, 
polished after the similitude of a palace, builded upon immov- 
able foundations, lighted by the lamp of the Spirit, filled with 
the harmonies of united praise and thanksgiving, fragrant within 
with the incense of adoring love, fitted to be the dwelling of God 
among men. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 389 



THE COMPARATIVE VALUES OF FEDERATION 
AND ORGANIC UNION 

C. H. Phillips, D.D. 

For many years there has been a desire for concerted action 
among the different Methodist bodies upon questions that would 
prove advantageous to the kingdom of God, promote the spirit 
of brotherly kindness and encourage cooperative methods that 
would lead to a closer union. The spirit and genius of Meth- 
odism have been excellently adapted to gospel propaganda, to the 
extension of Christianity and to the spreading of scriptural holi- 
ness throughout the land. 

God used John Wesley as an instrument to better the moral 
and social condition of the people of England. Methodism, as 
founded by Mr. Wesley, has wrought well, and it will accomplish 
more in the future as its forces are consecrated and united to the 
task at hand. The organic union of the different Methodist 
bodies is an ultimatum for which we should all devoutly pray. 

Federation has accomplished much toward effecting a better 
understanding among the various Methodist bodies as they have 
labored together in the same fields. Concentrated action, cooper- 
ation, and mutual understanding have lessened friction, angu- 
larities and asperities among us, and Christian ethics and 
brotherly courtesy are working wonders in the way of elim- 
inating non-essentials so that a larger future can usher in a 
brighter prospect for our common Methodism. 

This spirit of federation in our churches is, after all, but the 
irrepressible yearning for organic union, and in some instances 
had led to it. The federation encouraged at the second Ecu- 
menical Conference between Great Britain and Ireland, the 
United States including its missions and mission Conferences, 
Australasia with Polynesia and its other missions, and Canada 



390 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

with its various bodies, resulted in good and to the furtherance 
of the cause of Christ, to which they were committed. 

In recent years the Methodist Episcopal Church and the M eth- 
odist Episcopal Church, South, have been planning for a closer 
union through the federation process. Federation tends to 
Christian unity, Christian unity to Christian union, and Chris- 
tian union to organic union. Whatever estimate one might place 
upon the good that has come to the various Methodist bodies 
by the principles of federation, it would be impossible to place 
the proper estimate upon the good that would come to the same 
bodies if they were bearing one name, living in perfect harmony 
and in the spirit of peace and unity. 

Federation has enabled the different Methodist bodies to better 
conserve their interests and the cause of evangelical Christianity 
to labor in the same fields with as little waste as possible of 
energy and means through duplication of effort, and has pre- 
vented rivals from harassing each other where they have worked 
together in the same territory. But the value of federation is 
seen also in other fields of activity. It saves money, prevents 
unseemly contentions, increases efficiency, conserves the labors 
of evangelists, secures harmony of methods, and devises the best 
plans for the largest possible results. 

In the Washington Ecumenical Conference twenty-five years 
ago Dr. J. M. Buckley said: "We wish to promote a spirit of 
unity. We wish that organic union, if it ever comes, shall come 
first as the blade, then as the ear, and then the full corn in the 
ear." I suppose this spirit of federation which we have had 
during the past has been the blade and the ear and must ulti- 
mately lead to the full corn in the ear — organic union. 

But the principle of federation has been practised not only 
by the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, and other Methodist bodies distinctly among 
white people, but also among Methodists as represented by the 
African Methodist Episcopal, the African Methodist Episcopal 
Zion, and the Colored Methodist Episcopal Churches. The value 
of this cooperation appears when I tell you that we have made it 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 391 

exceedingly uncomfortable for ministers who would leave either 
of these churches under charges and attempt to connect them- 
selves with another. A short time ago a minister of the Colored 
Methodist Episcopal Church withdrew with some members and 
made an effort to join the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 
He carried some five or six hundred dollars belonging to the 
church which he had left. But the African Methodist Episcopal 
bishop to whom he applied refused to receive him unless he 
returned the money. After some delay this was done and he 
and his followers were received. In addition to this, these three 
churches agreed to publish a common hymn book and catechism ; 
that ministers should subscribe for the church organs of the 
three denominations ; that the bishops of the respective churches, 
having Conferences in a contiguous territory, should endeavor 
to so arrange the holding of them that they may be able to asso- 
ciate with each other when possible. While these and other 
agreements have not been lived up to, they nevertheless indicate 
the growing desire for a closer relation. 

But, after all, cooperative movements and federative methods 
have not always proved satisfactory. The terms of agreement 
have often been broken and the ends sought did not obtain. 
However, in the absence of organic union, Methodism could 
have employed no agency so effective for reducing friction, pro- 
moting efficiency of equipment and minimizing the waste of men 
and means, as through the channel of federation. We have 
observed that "the fairest bloom of vegetation and the richest 
fullness of organic life spring out of a state of confusion and 
chaos, when the elemental powers, after a long struggle and con- 
flict, settle at last into a state of harmonious equipoise, unite and 
fructify, and, in some creative moment when the great struggle 
is over, give birth to new and more beautiful forms of existence." 
So may it be with the divisions of our common Methodism. 
Some day we shall care less for the traditions of our individual 
churches; we shall sacrifice our church-individualism and sec- 
tarianism for the larger results that would accrue to a united 
Methodism ; we shall throw off non-essentials, trifles, and selfish- 



392 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

ik'ss that have kept us apart, and organic union will be the 
result. 

Federation has most assuredly achieved something wherever 
it has been tried, but organic union would accomplish more. As 
long as we federate, we maintain and encourage our separate 
existences and stultify the genius of our Methodism. The union 
of our churches would be organic: and if organic, vital. But 
back of this union and the very germ of it must be spiritual 
unity, and spiritual union is opposed to a union by coercion or 
mechanical appliances. 

This question of union is one that requires the wisdom of all 
our leaders and the best energies of our churches. We know 
that we must reach this goal by a slow, steady tread. What 
would give our common Methodism such dignity, power and sub- 
limity as to have one white and one Negro Methodist Church, 
presenting a solid phalanx against the rulers of the darkness of 
this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places? A 
united Methodism, with her conservation of resources, mobiliz- 
ing all her once diversified forces with the greatest possible 
efficiency against error, prejudice, superstition, ignorance and 
all that is unseemly, and in favor of education, righteousness, 
the spread of Christianity, and all that is uplifting, would prove 
an invaluable factor in the solution of all questions of reform, in 
the destruction of the liquor traffic, and in the adjustment of all 
social and labor problems. 

Methodism, rich in heritage, pure in doctrine, real in charm- 
ing romance, spiritual in its evangelism, has had a marvelous 
development. But who can say what would be the fruits, the 
possibilities of the organic union of American Methodism? 
While we dare not imagine all the good results that would obtain 
from such a combination, this much we do know : first, the 
resources and energies employed by the various Methodist bodies 
in maintaining rival interests would be set at liberty for the 
larger and more worthy task of aggressive gospel propagandas, 
the strengthening of our stakes, the expansion of our Methodism, 
and the hastening of the coming of our Lord; second, whatever 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 393 

reproach our divisions have invited and brought upon the church 
of Wesley would terminate with organic union; third, it would 
conduce to the saving of time, money, men, and labor in carrying 
forward the work of the church; fourth, whether large or small, 
it would be a contribution to the fulfillment of our Lord's prayer 
— "that they may be one as we are one"; fifth, it would better 
prepare us to meet the necessities of our existence, and with our 
vision uncircumscribed and our sympathy uncontracted, we 
should have a larger sense of responsibility and of the greatness 
of the work to be performed ; sixth, organic union would give us 
a loftier, larger life in Christ, a fuller enjoyment of his spirit, 
a deeper sympathy with the purposes of his Kingdom, and with a 
clearer vision of the vast field of opportunity for religious and 
philanthropic work, we would accomplish more by commanding 
our concentrated forces in pressing all our schemes for moral 
and social reform. 

But what of organic union among Negro Methodist bodies? 
Is it a forlorn hope? Are we waiting to see what the three 
large white Methodist bodies are going to do? It has been 
said — and there is no time to differ from those who make the 
statement — that the Negro is an imitator, the white man an orig- 
inator ; that the white man should lead, the Negro should follow. 
I venture the opinion that Negro Methodists would be delighted 
to follow and imitate the three great Methodist bodies of 
America when they unite. Indeed, their union would make it 
more easy for us to get together. But whether they coalesce 
or not, it is my belief that Negro Methodists will not cease to 
watch, work, and pray till we shall become one mighty phalanx, 
united for mutual service for God and man. If you ask when 
shall we have organic union, I reply by saying, many years ago 
the daughter of a European queen was engaged to the son of 
the queen of another country. After the engagement, they be- 
gan to discuss the time of the marriage, and the discussion was 
so rife and acrimonious that it led to their estrangement and to 
the complete cancellation of the engagement. The time for 
organic union is a very delicate and difficult question and must 



394 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

very largely be left to the evolution of the future. It was Calvin 
who once exclaimed "Post tenebras, lux." Now is the period 
of darkness. It dims our view and magnifies the trifles and non- 
essentials that have kept divided our various Methodisms, and 
too often have been the prolific source of much of our contro- 
versies and entanglements. After darkness, light; after divi- 
sions, organic union. For the light of the Spirit of God shall 
shine out all darkness and throw its soft, illuminating rays far 
down our pathway as we march on to the dawn of a new day 
and to the birth of a larger and more magnificent future. 

In my opinion, if the Methodist Episcopal Church were to 
elect two or three Negro bishops and thereby create a leadership 
for its colored contingent, a leadership that would be peculiar, 
inspiring, and unlike that which white bishops can possibly 
furnish to Negroes, it would make a step, a long step, toward 
eliminating one of the most knotty problems in the considera- 
tion of organic union between itself and other white Methodist 
bodies. These bishops, clothed with authority and prestige, 
would be the spokesmen of all their 350,000 brethren and, as 
race leaders different in a sense from any leadership they possess 
to-day, would be in a position to negotiate terms of organic 
union with other Negro Methodist bodies. 

If we would greet the dawn of the new day to which I have 
alluded, that shines on the top of the distant mountains, if we 
would catch the first sounds of the tramping hosts of Wesley as 
they come marching down the vista of the ages to the music of 
the world's redemption, let Methodists of all the various bodies 
give expression to and become advocates of the sentiments ex- 
pressed in these lines : 

The union of lakes, the union of lands, 

The union of states, none can sever. 
The union of hearts, the union of hands, 

But our Methodist union forever. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 395 



THE COMPARATIVE VALUES OF FEDERATION AND 

ORGANIC UNION 

Fbancis J. McConnell, D.D. 

I am to discuss the comparative values of federation and 
organic union with especial reference to the proposed coming- 
together of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South. The term federation takes its start 
from organizations like the United States of America in which 
the people of a country grant to a central federal authority cer- 
tain powers having to do with all sections of the country alike, 
while reserving all other powers to the control of separate States. 
Since the Civil War, however, we could hardly point to the 
United States as an example of federation, for as a matter of 
fact the United States has become so thoroughly one nation 
that the various parts of the country are really joined together 
in organic union. The British Empire is to-day a better example 
of actual federation. Various commonwealths, scattered widely 
over the world, are so loyal to the central idea of an empire that, 
in a great war like the present, the troops from all the common- 
wealths are found side by side in the trenches of Europe, but the 
commonwealths are so diverse in their separate forms of organ- 
ization as to be, for all purposes which do not infringe upon 
imperial affairs, distinct nations. The real bonds of the British 
Empire are sentimental — so purely sentimental, in fact, that 
there was confidence in some quarters and fear in others that 
the empire would fall to pieces in time of great war. But the 
vital imperial advance of recent times has been along the path 
of federation in the British sense, the source of the strength 
being that the concerns which really center around the interests 
of the separate commonwealths are guarded by being left to those 
separate commonwealths. It would not be especially wise to 



396 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

attempt to legislate at London for distinctively Australian or 
Canadian affairs. Of course it will be understood that relations 
to so-called subject peoples like those of India have no particular 
relevance to our theme, though even in India whatever measure 
of success England has comes out of leaving so much to the 
official on the ground. 

Federation, in a word, is a device for getting into as close 
union as possible bodies of people which have their own interests 
differing from those of other bodies. All schemes of union have 
as their underlying aim to make it possible for bodies to do 
together in the best possible manner whatever things they ought 
to be expected to do together. Organic union lays most stress 
on the "together," while federation would leave the bodies separ- 
ate for the things they can best do separately. Federation is a 
device for bodies which, while they have marked differences 
among themselves, can nevertheless get together for the accom- 
plishment of certain aims. Just at present the movement for 
union of churches is not ordinarily able to get much past the 
stage of federation. The writer is familiar with two local church 
organizations which can and do get together in practical com- 
munity affairs. The harmony in such affairs leads to the ques- 
tion as to why these two bodies cannot merge, especially since 
their particular community is over-churched. The reason is 
that one church is filled with rather a modern spirit in its view 
of the Scriptures and its outlook upon social needs. The other 
church is pre-millenarian, conceives of the modern view of the 
•Scriptures as false and holds back from important social service 
lest temporary betterment of the world's condition may put off 
the day of the coming of the Lord. No preacher on earth could 
long satisfy the two types of mind. Now the situation between 
these two local institutions is often paralleled in the situation 
between entire denominations. The denominations feel that 
lines of historic religious force, sentimental considerations, tem- 
peramental types abounding in different denominations, are 
worth preserving. They are willing to cooperate with other de- 
nominations but not to merge. Consider the fact that even the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 397 

governmental schemes of various church organizations have to 
a large extent their bases in profound psychological differences 
between human beings. The Roman Catholic Church has part 
of its power in that it "settles things" for believers. Some men 
feel that they have not the training to think things through for 
themselves, or that they lack expert knowledge, or that it is 
folly to be debating the same old questions forever. Perhaps 
a great many Roman Catholics who do not believe in the doctrine 
of church infallibility in any literal sense see in the church 
authorities a court of last resort, or a council that gives orders 
and settles things so that we can get on. Another man believes 
in democracy, but desires a league with hosts of other men for 
the carrying out of the plans of a religious democracy. You 
may find such a man in a Methodist church. Or a third wishes 
democracy of the New England town meeting type, and he joins 
an organization which meets his need. Now there is nothing 
theoretically impossible in getting all these sorts of organization 
into a federal scheme for the accomplishment of aims which 
could best be furthered by cooperation, though of course the 
practical objections from at least one of the organizations named 
would be insuperable. The worth of the federation plan is that 
it aims at preserving what is worth while in the distinctive expe- 
rience of the several bodies. And we may just as well remember 
that any scheme of union which does away with diversity of 
Christian experience and procedure will be harmful in propor- 
tion as it is successful. Moreover, an attempt at organic union 
of denominations without provision for the opportunity for the 
survival of worthy differences would be doomed to failure. The 
organization would sooner or later break up for the gratifica- 
tion of the impulses toward diversity. In all these discussions 
we must think of Paul's word about the diversity of operations 
in One body. The diversity is to be provided for, and the virtue 
of federation is that it makes possible cooperation without doing 
away with the diversity of denominational life. 

The question as to whether federation would not be a good 
plan for the Methodist church of the North and the Methodist 



398 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

church of the South depends partly upon whether the diversity 
between the two branches is such that it cannot be preserved 
except by federation. That there is diversity no one would deny, 
but the diversities do not concern doctrines, or types of experi- 
ence, or, in any radical fashion, methods of administration. If 
there is reason for the organic union of any two great bodies of 
Christendom, there is reason for the union of these branches of 
Methodism. Federation between such bodies is not likely to 
succeed, and that for the reason that the more alike two bodies 
are, the more it becomes necessary to lay stress upon non-essen- 
tials in trying to win members for either church in territory of 
"competition." If a man believes devoutly in predestination 
there is ground for trying to keep men away from a church 
which emphasizes free will — and conversely. There is no reason 
in such case why the debate should not be dignified. Such a 
question is dignified; but with churches fundamentally alike 
the opportunities for dignified competition for members are not 
numerous. This is one reason why there has been so much 
bad temper between Northern and Southern branches of denom- 
inations which meet in rivalry on a border line. The further 
reason for deciding against federation for Northern and 
Southern Methodism is that such approaches as we have already 
made toward it have not been over-successful. To amount to 
much a Federal Council would need to possess powers large 
enough to veto the action of a home missionary board of one 
branch seeking to plant churches in the territory which another 
branch might claim for itself. When a Federal Council meets 
to discuss the relations of the denominations at particular points 
on a border and then must needs adjourn for fear that an open- 
and-above-board discussion will threaten the peace of Methodism 
everywhere, it is about time either to abandon federation or to 
advance to something beyond. 

Can we go forward to organic union ? Such union in its most 
literal terms would mean the complete merging into one organ- 
ization by merging general conferences, boards of bishops, 
benevolent boards, publishing concerns, etc. We already have 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 399 

practically a uniform set of requirements for admission to the 
churches and for admission to the ministry. Union stated in 
these bald terms might be out of the question just because of the 
very unwieldiness of the resulting conferences or boards, but 
"union straight" calls for just as close an approximation to such 
merging as possible. Whatever valuable differences there are 
between the branches should in any scheme of union be pre- 
served. That is what the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church implied when at their meeting at Des Moines in 1915 
they pronounced in favor of any plan of real union which would 
guard the rights of any minority coming into the union. A 
worthy distinctiveness of life in any section of the church should 
not be overridden just because it may be the distinctiveness of 
the minority. The plan suggested by the Church South as a 
basis for discussion has not met with great favor throughout the 
North, but somewhere between that plan and an outright merg- 
ing which might threaten absorption of a smaller group by a 
larger, a working plan can be devised which will measurably 
well meet the actual needs. 

What results, good, bad, or indifferent, may we reasonably 
expect from a real union of the two Methodisms ? 

The first good we are apt to think of is economy of manage- 
ment of financial interests in benevolent boards, the abandon- 
ment of schemes which involve reduplication of church enter- 
prises and the like. In the long run such results would no doubt 
ensue, but it would be well not to be over-hopeful of immediate 
results. There need not be needless reduplication in the future, 
but there would be difficulty about closing churches now actually 
in existence. Congregations which have listened to the Southern 
or the Northern accent will prefer the one to the other for some 
time to come. Nor must we be too optimistic about the economy 
which will come from merged benevolent boards. Much of the 
talk about union proceeds on the assumption that vast econ- 
omies will be manifest at once. We do not share such expecta- 
tion for the immediate future. It will take ten or twenty years 
to get noticeable results in economy. 



400 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

But we are not advocating union for economy's sake. The 
economy argument has been a bit overworked. Even if the new 
plan would result in larger expense in the end it might be well 
worth adoption. We pass to consider the possible and probable 
effect of union on the attitude of the two branches toward the 
Negro problem, the question of social service, the effect on gen- 
eral evangelistic and missionary advance, and, to mention a 
single administrative concern, the attitude toward the episcopacy. 

The Negro problem has been supposed to be the chief barrier 
to union between the two churches. It is very likely that each 
side fails to discern just how greatly the attitude of the other 
has changed on this point in the past twenty-five years. The 
Northern man fancies the Southern as still thinking of slavery, 
whereas the mass of Southern Methodist preachers of to-day 
never saw a slave. And the Southern man imagines that the 
Northern man takes an utterly impracticable and visionary view 
of the Negro. The effect of union would have to be a getting 
together. Suppose a Southern church should cease to insist on 
the separation of the Negroes into what would be practically a 
body of their own. If the proposal of the Southern men to set 
the Negroes off by themselves means anything, it means a very 
considerable compliment to the Negro. It assumes that he is 
now capable of essentially democratic practice, or that he soon 
will be — for no one supposes that the Southerner has proposed a 
plan which he thinks will make the Negro question worse instead 
of better. But suppose, we repeat, the South should not insist 
on separation of the Negro. Suppose the Negroes remain as they 
now are in our church. Inasmuch as Southern bishops now 
preach in the pulpits of colored ministers it is hard to see why 
they could not hold Negro Conferences, but suppose that it is 
not wise, as tending to raise harmful issues. Is it not to be 
believed that a board of bishops or a college of bishops — or what- 
ever the new name might be — would have sense enough not to 
send bishops to preside over colored Conferences who might 
have conscientious principles against rendering such service? 
Cannot something be left to the good sense even of bishops? If 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 401 

there were in the Northern board of bishops to-day a British- 
born brother rabidly furious against Germany in the present 
war, is it very likely that the board would insist on such a 
brother's holding a series of German Conferences? But the 
discussion of the Negro question in one board of bishops made 
up of men from North and South, or in one General Con- 
ference made up of delegates from North and South, or in one 
home mission board made up of representatives from North 
and South, might be of immense benefit both to North and 
South. 

It may be possible to put the difference between the attitude 
of the present-day Southern Methodist toward the Negro and 
that of the present-day Northern Methodist in a word — the 
Southern attitude tends toward the so-called paternalistic as the 
word is used in discussion of social progress, and the Northern 
professes at least to tend toward the fraternalistic. The 
Southern Methodist does not desire to hold the Negro in any 
sort of bondage. He desires to help him and he does help him. 
The writer of this paper knows many ministers of the Southern 
church, men of the thoroughly Southern point of view, who go 
repeatedly into the pulpits of the Colored Methodist church to 
preach. The danger in the paternalistic attitude is that it tends 
to resent signs of growing independence in him who is the object 
of its care. That has been and is the trouble with paternalistic 
governments and paternalistic industrial systems, and paternal- 
istic orders of society the world over. And at the first sign of 
growing independence the social question arises. The fraternal- 
ism of the Northerner, on the other hand, is not always willing 
to look facts in the face. When the Northerner goes South to 
live he is altogether too apt to assume an attitude toward the 
Negro which is as over-lordly toward the Negro as that of the 
Southerner, with a Southerner's kindliness left out. Paternal- 
ism is usually willing to look facts in the face, to find what can 
be done to help in a particularly evil plight. Fraternalism's 
temptation is to float in the air, with an abstract doctrine of 
the brotherhood of all men without a willingness to see just what 



402 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

is the trouble with some of the brothers. The Northern Meth- 
odist does not always see the actual situation of the South, does 
not always realize how much the Southern man is doing to relieve 
that situation. The Southern man does not see that the 
Northerner is really standing for a democratic ideal which the 
Southerner might accept even for the Negro if he saw better the 
real meaning of the ideal. The narrower social aspects of the 
question — social in that sense which we have in mind when we 
talk of social equality — we shall have to leave to individual and 
public conscience North and South. But that is where it is in 
any case. If the Northern man believes in social equality for 
the Negro, let him practice it in his own home. If the Southern 
man does not believe in it, he will be less apt to denounce the 
Northern man who does if he and the Northerner are brothers 
in the same church. 

Now what promises a more speedy amelioration of this diffi- 
culty — union or federation? Union certainly provides for a 
better chance for mutual understanding. Federation, or any 
scheme which would sharply separate North and South, would 
tend to perpetuate too strictly the attitude of the distinct sec- 
tions — and we would go on in the same old ways of mutual mis- 
understanding. The man of the South would have to keep on 
telling us the great benefit which has come to the Negro through 
Southern contacts- and the man of the North might have to keep 
talking about the great cause for which our fathers died. And 
we might not be moving ahead very rapidly — no matter how 
correct the history on the one side or how eloquent the oratory 
on the other. So far as the Negro question is concerned there is 
fast coming to be a basis on whicli the Northern and the South- 
ern Methodist can agree, at least to such an extent as would 
make living together in organic union successful and happy. 
The Negro is making for himself a basis for development in 
industrial skill and effectiveness. This is not the full solution of 
the Negro question, but it is a long step. One difference between 
North and South is to how far Negro progress shall go, but that 
is not for the immediate present. No one nowadays talks of 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 403 

absorption of the Negro by the white; practically every one 
agrees that provision must be made for Negro progress. Much 
as we may deplore social ostracism for the Negro, he can rise 
in genuinely democratic progress without admission into white 
social circles. It would throw a certain type of capitalist in 
this country into convulsions to be told that he should throw 
open his home to members of trade-unions, but the convulsions 
would not hurt the trade-unions, and the trade-unions are the 
clearest examples of democracy-at-work which we have. The 
illustration does not of course provide a complete analogy, except 
that social recognition is not so mighty a determining factor as 
we sometimes think. 

This brings on the wider social effects of organic union of 
North and South. What will be the effect on forward move- 
ments in theological and social thinking in bringing together 
a South which somewhat prides itself on its conservatism and 
a North which prides itself on its progressivism ? If honest 
confession is good for the soul, the writer will do his soul the 
good to say that it has been at this point that he has feared the 
union of the two branches of Methodism. But while there is 
peril here a closer examination would show that the peril is not 
of a sort which ought to keep the South and the North apart. 
The theological schools North and South are about alike in 
their acceptance of scientific method in general and of the 
modern historical approach to the study of the Scriptures in par- 
ticular. The battle over this particular point has been won 
North and South even though many church fathers North and 
South are not yet aware of the fact. Among the men who are 
to supply the leadership North and South during the next 
twenty-five years there will not be any serious quarrels in theol- 
ogy- 

The situation as regards the broader social movements is more 

serious. These movements all alike root in the trend of the 
times toward modern democracy. As a simple matter of histor- 
ical fact the sweep toward modern democracy has been more 
extended and pervasive in the North than in the South. The 



404 A WOEKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

century-old differences in social organization, admitted evil 
economic after-effects of slavery and the crippling of the South 
in war and reconstruction periods, the east and west directions 
of commerce — these and other forces have made the popula- 
tion currents swing around the South rather than sweep over 
it, so that the progressive tendencies of the time have not 
had the power in the South, generally speaking, that they have 
had in the North. Of this situation the fact of a politically solid 
South is one indication. Would a General Conference composed 
of delegates from the South as well as from the North get back 
of a social creed with genuine determination? 

Our question is between federation and union. Federation 
would tend to leave the peculiar social situation in the South 
more nearly what it is. The South herself complains of the 
forces which isolate her. There would clearly be more isolation 
under federation than under organic union. It is possible to 
reply to this that the speed of a marching column is set by the 
most slowly moving troops, and that any part of the church mov- 
ing faster than the others would have to slow down. This 
might be true as to concerted action, but after all progressive- 
ness is more or less a matter of "spots." Ministers are respon- 
sible to their Annual Conferences for their views and the differ- 
ences between Conferences in the North are very marked. The 
same is true of the South. If we can get rid of the line between 
the North and South, so that the sectional question does not 
come up, it may be much better in the long run for all forms of 
progress. And the difficulty in all these social questions is that 
progressives get into a holier-than-thou attitude which is right- 
eous enough but not good enough. It is very easy for the man 
of the North to become critical over Southern conditions which 
he does not understand. Considering the disadvantages to be 
overcome at the start, it would be hard to match the general 
social progress of the South in the last fifty years. Moreover, the 
union of the South with the North in schemes of social better- 
ment is sure to help the North. We may call the South old- 
fashioned if we will, but the North is in some quarters so new- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 405 

fashioned as to be in danger of leaving the principal things 
behind. Modern social movements are so given to considering 
actual programs as to be in danger of omitting the religious 
emphasis. Northern social endeavor very much needs that rever- 
ent emphasis upon the place of religion as such which is so 
much a part of the thinking of the South. The South is more 
likely to keep the idea of God as God uppermost than is the 
North. And again the North has suffered a veritable plague at 
the hands of those who have interpreted efficiency as just the 
power to get things done without much regard as to whether 
the things are worth doing. In spite of the Negro question and 
everything of the sort, the service which the South can render 
the North in the emphasis upon the dignities of manhood and 
womanhood as such, upon the courtesies that should obtain in 
the contacts of human beings, and upon the need of taking time 
to enjoy human existence as such, is beyond calculation. In a 
sense the South needs to be speeded up, and in a sense the North 
needs to be slowed down — slowed down enough at least to ask 
more often the question as to what social effort is for. Eeal 
social service by the church is the emphasis on the supreme 
importance of the human values. In the accent on this general 
worth of humanity the North and South can come very close 
together. 

The supreme advantage of union will be intangible. It will 
have to do with effects in the sphere of sentiment and opinion. 
The spread of the Kingdom at home and abroad will be furthered 
by such a vast mass of Christianity presenting a common front. 
We rail at the ignorance of the man of the street as to the slight- 
ness of the differences between denominations, and at his mis- 
taken conceptions of the churches as warring with one another 
— mistakes which are increased, by the way, by those unwise 
advocates of church union who speak of the churches as if they 
were fighting one another. The quickest way to remove these 
false notions is to remove their cause. The differences between 
denominations may seem trivial to us, but if they lead to false 
notions on the part of the world, we should aim to get rid of 



406 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

them. The conquest of the world is largely a conquest of the 
opinion of the world. Christianity needs, especially in the 
sphere of evangelism, such a movement toward unity on the part 
of the churches as will leave nothing before the thought of the 
men whom we expect to win except the claims of the Lord Jesus. 
And what is true in evangelism is preeminently true in mission- 
ary effort. The statement of truth should be narrowed down to 
the simple cutting edge, and back of that cutting edge should 
be all the mass which we can assemble. The instruments and 
the machinery of the denominations should as much as possible 
be kept out of sight. It is not to be wondered at that outsiders 
in Christian and non-Christian lands think that denominational 
differences are more important than they are if they are import- 
ant enough to account for the failure of the churches to get to- 
gether in great evangelistic and missionary campaigns. All war- 
fare is in the end a warfare against opinions and sentiments. 
The best way the church can combat the misunderstandings 
which outsiders have as to the nature of Christianity is to remove 
the causes of those misunderstandings, and to leave only the 
figure of Christ in the world's field of view. 

From these more important considerations we pass to some- 
thing of less consequence indeed but of very real interest to every 
Methodist North and South. What will be the effect of organic 
union on the episcopacy ? If it be objected that this is to descend 
to the discussion of a mere piece of church machinery, let us not 
forget that this piece of machinery is important enough to get 
its name into the very title of the churches themselves, and that 
the whole history of both branches of the church thus far has 
been inextricably interwoven with the working of the episcopacy. 
So much is this true that many non-episcopal churches to-day 
think they see in the practical success of Methodism a proof of 
the efficacy of the episcopal system. One of the foremost leaders 
of a denomination which is composed of churches each inde- 
pendent in organization and all fiercely intolerant of any sort of 
supervision, told the writer some time ago that the only hope 
he saw for his denomination in its missionary work was some 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 407 

kind of bishopric, though he felt that the word bishop could not 
be used. 

The Methodist bishoprics North and South are of two types. 
The Northern is more democratic, the Southern more autocratic. 
It will be understood that we do not use the term "autocratic" 
in the sense of arbitrary. Apart from the fact that the Southern 
bishops have a sort of check-power on General Conference legis- 
lation, the bishoprics North and South are indeed theoretically 
almost alike. In practice, however, they are rather far apart. 
The Northern bishopric has inevitably been subject to the demo- 
cratic currents which have been running so strongly through the 
North. In making appointments the Northern bishop is more 
commonly a judge or an arbiter than is the Southern bishop. 
The Northern bishop will pay more attention to a church com- 
mittee than will the Southern bishop, even though General Con- 
ference resolutions call all such procedure unmethodistic. The 
Southern bishop will stick more closely to the practice of original 
Methodism and keep matters more tightly in his own hands. 
This is no criticism upon any persons concerned. We are speak- 
ing wholly of systems. There are Southern bishops who would 
prefer to work under the Northern system, as there are 
Northern bishops who would prefer to work under the Southern 
system. 

Under union we may expect that the bishopric will be increas- 
ingly responsive to the movement of democracy the country over. 
Some prophets say that the final effect will be a time limit on 
the episcopacy, and others say that the effect will be toward a 
larger and a larger board. Neither of these suggestions seems in 
line with modern democratic tendency. Anything which sug- 
gests rotation in office is democratic only in outward appearance, 
as is also a board so large that individual responsibility is over- 
shadowed. The idea of democracy to-day is to get the will of 
the people who compose a particular body into expression and 
action. The fundamental interest in Methodism is with the mil- 
lions of Methodists — not with the ministers primarily, and cer- 
tainly not with the bishops themselves. The democratic move- 



408 A WORKING CONFERENCE 

merit is toward as small executive bodies as possible, with large 
appointing power, the executives subject to recall. Should 
Methodist bishops be subject to the operation of a straight 
recall on the general question as to the desirability of continu- 
ing this or that individual? The only answer to this question 
is another — Why not ? 

But this is only one side. Under union we may expect the 
Southern view of the bishops to have an influence in the North. 
The South looks more to its bishops for general denominational 
leadership than does the North. It is true that the North has 
much to say of what it expects of its bishops for the entire 
denomination, but along with the Northern tendency to hold a 
bishop responsible for a particular area there arises some crit- 
icism when he attempts anything outside of that area. The 
criticism is wise if it concerns a refusal of the bishop to do his 
full supervisional duty toward his area, or if he engages in work 
which does not bear directly on the advance of the Kingdom. It 
is not wise when it would seek to limit a bishop in his preaching 
or in his interest in schemes of general importance, or in his 
ministry to colleges or to any bodies of larger reach than that of 
his area. It is not wise if it narrows him so that his opinion 
on an affair of the entire denomination is without weight, or so 
that he has no time to aid in evangelistic or intellectual or social 
advance which concerns the church as a whole. We may expect 
the Southern view to check the Northern tendency to make 
bishops partisans of areas. The area plan ought to stay, and 
the direct authority of a bishop may well be narrowed to an 
area. On the other hand, every inducement should be employed 
to make it possible for a bishop's influence to touch the entire 
denomination. A bishop's influence depends, of course, on what 
he is and not on his authority. The bishop should feel that the 
entire denomination is a possible sphere for his influence. 



A SUGGESTED WORKING PLAN FOR 
METHODIST UNION 

JOHN M. MOORE, D.D., 

Secretary of the Department of Home Missions, Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South 

ALEXANDER WALTERS, D.D., 
Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church 

EDGAR BLAKE, D.D., 

Secretary of the Board of Sunday Schools, Methodist 

Episcopal Church 



A SUGGESTED WORKING PLAN FOR METHODIST 

UNION 

John M. Moore, D.D. 

During the last forty years of more or less serious effort at 
the union of the Methodist bodies of the United States there 
have been three plans promulgated : one the mother church plan 
of absorption, one the Scarritt plan of division into sections with 
independent General Conferences, and one the joint commis- 
sion's plan of unification by reorganization. Of the three, only 
the commission's plan is in any way feasible or desirable. The 
mother church plan w T as very simple. One church was to be 
the mother and the others were simply to come into her fold 
without requiring any change in her name, polity, methods of 
operation, or interpretations of history and the powers of the 
Conferences. The game was simple enough, but the others 
would not play, for reasons which they promptly announced and 
maintained. The Scarritt plan, so named because it was first 
proposed by Dr. Nathan Scarritt, was vigorously supported by 
Dr. D. H. McAnally, the distinguished editor of the St. Louis 
Christian Advocate, and Dr. W P. Harrison, editor of the Meth- 
odist Review. The plan provided for four grand divisions — 
Eastern, Southern, Western, and Colored — under four inde- 
pendent General Conferences, the whole church to be bound 
together by an advisory council, representing Conference dis- 
tricts, without any authority and limited to the discussion of 
interests common to all. 

It seems a bit remarkable that any one could have ever sup- 
posed that such a proposition could gain favor with a great 
church conscious of its own powers and ambitious to become a 
world-wide ecclesiastical force. There may be some doubt as to 

whether these distinguished promulgators of this partitioning 

411 



412 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

plan entertained any hope of its acceptance. They may have 
promulgated it simply in rebuttal to the equally extreme and 
unacceptable mother church plan. So far as I know no one in 
the Church South to-day would advocate the Scarritt plan or 
anything like it, notwithstanding the fact that my distinguished 
friend Dr. Claudius B. Spencer has published in a book the state- 
ment that if the commission's plan of unification is adopted the 
dream of Scarritt will be realized. If the two are the same — 
which I stoutly contend they are not — then I must be allowed 
to revise my course and vote to put an end to our present nego- 
tiations on the basis of the commission's plan. 

The mother church plan has been revised somewhat and for it 
has been substituted a plan which is championed by Dr. C. B. 
Spencer, if I have properly understood him, in his little book 
which he declares he wrote "in behalf of the organic union of 
American Methodism." By this plan the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, the Methodist Protestant Church, and any others 
who may so desire are to come into the Methodist Episcopal 
Church with its name unchanged, its interpretations of the 
supreme power of the General Conference accepted, with its 
episcopal areas and districting system indorsed, with its manner 
of dealing with the Negro approved, and with its general polity 
as to preachers, Conferences, boards, and such sanctioned, and 
with a sort of Supervisional Conference for episcopal areas that 
would be largely inspirational and advisory with the possible 
power of electing members to one of the two houses of the Gen- 
eral Conference. This plan has the virtue of simplicity of con- 
summation, if ever adopted, and Bishop Neely, in his recent 
strange book on American Methodism, naively intimates that 
his church foresaw the possible acceptance of some such plan as 
far back as 1896 and put into the Discipline a paragraph on 
"union with other churches" by which any body of Christians 
agreeing in doctrine with the Methodist Episcopal Church may 
be made a component part of that church. 

The editor of The Christian Advocate (New York) spoke very 
plainly recently when he said: "Too many Methodists who 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 413 

honestly think they are in favor of union have really never con- 
ceived of a united Methodist church which shall he anything 
else but the Methodist Episcopal Church on a large scale. It is 
because the other proposed elements in the union plainly see this 
that they are looking about for a plan of union in which the 
rights of the minority shall be safeguarded." Bishop Cranston in 
his Boston address recognized this same state of mind when he 
said: "Here is the crucial question: Is the Methodist Episcopal 
Church great enough to give to other divided communions, which, 
like our Methodism, hold the essentials of unity, the inspiration 
of a great example, or will she insist that as a condition of union 
the other Methodist bodies, so often invited to consider terms, 
must, if they come, pass under the domination of her numerical 
majority ?" Let me say frankly that these distinguished repre- 
sentatives of the Methodist Episcopal Church have spoken what 
is in the mind of many a member of the Church South. Dr. 
T. H. Lewis, of the Methodist Protestant Church, in his mem- 
orable fraternal address to the General Conference of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church in 1908, gave expression to the prevail- 
ing sentiment of the smaller Methodist bodies : "You do not 
expect, and we do not understand that our membership, churches, 
Conferences, and institutions are simply to be emptied out of 
one bag into another. You are big enough to hold us, but too big 
to want us in that fashion." That is what church union has 
usually meant. We have a recent example of this in the union 
of two sister denominations. The man who does not realize 
that the unification of American Methodism must be an entirely 
different thing from the merging into one of the existing 
churches of all the lesser bodies is hardly prepared to discuss 
advantageously the question of organic union. 

Our progress in promoting the unification of American Meth- 
odism in recent years has been severely retarded by two extreme 
beliefs, firmly fixed in the popular Methodist mind ; namely, that 
the Methodist Episcopal Church would never agree to any plan 
but that of practical absorption, and that the Church South 
would agree to none that failed to provide for autonomous divi- 



414 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

sions, one of which shall include practically all her territory and 
membership. The reason that the proposal of organic union has 
hitherto never met with favor in the South, and even the present 
movement is held in disfavor by some, is because of this fixed 
belief that union in the end will be nothing less than absorption. 
These two fixed beliefs must be removed from the popular mind 
by the adoption of a plan which, as the bishops of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church have said, shall provide ample and brotherly 
protection for the minority. The discussion has now reached 
the stage where the plan of unification is of primary importance. 
Do the joint commission's suggestions contain the basic prin- 
ciples for a working plan ? If not, what ? 

Many men in the North who have discussed the joint com- 
mission's plan, have condemned it in the popular mind by 
simply calling it the Southern plan, the Scarritt plan, which 
means autonomous sections with the practical preservation of 
the Church South intact. Bishop Hartzell speaks of the plan 
as a scheme of the Church South to accomplish its old desire. 
Bishop R. J. Cooke, in Zion's Herald recently, says : "The South 
in this plan will not trust the North. It consolidates itself, but 
cuts up the rest. No section is to trust the other to make laws, 
rules and regulations for the whole. Each shall make its own 
laws. In this plan the supreme General Conference at bottom is 
nothing more than a clearing house for the boards. What spon- 
taneity of thought or feeling is there in such a document? It 
is a union by disruption. Instead of the union of Methodism, 
we have the disruption of Methodism. It is an impossible 
ultimatum, and could never be a finality. The Methodist Epis- 
copal Church is invited to commit suicide. It is to carve itself, 
under the guise of reorganization, into segments, fragments, 
divisions, each segment to think itself a unit, in itself inde- 
pendent and yet dependent, with about as much unity in a col- 
lective whole as there is in a scrap heap." In my opinion Bishop 
Cooke has woefully misinterpreted the commission's plan and 
has utterly misconstrued its provisions. He evidently lias con- 
founded this plan with the Scarritt plan, the old bogey. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 415 

Dr. Spencer in his book assumes as fixed the boundary lines 
which are to make what he calls the "tri section of the United 
States into three independent areas/' giving to the Southern 
area all the Southern States west of the Mississippi Eiver as 
well as the east, and shows what of the membership of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church will fall into the lap of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, and what of the membership of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, will fall into the lap of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, and then bewails the loss to his 
church. Has any Southern church body or representative said 
that the lines which Dr. Spencer accepts as fixed will be de- 
manded. No, he simply has before him the old bogey. I declare 
to you, here and now, Mr. Chairman, that we want no divisions 
in territory or administration that are not fair and feasible or 
that tend in any way to produce or promote separation. While 
we want no absorption of any by the other, and could not indorse 
any semblance of such, no plan would be acceptable to us that 
did not establish a genuine union beyond the shadow of a doubt. 
In name, in doctrine, in spirit and purpose, in policy, in admin- 
istration in service we want one Methodism — in which every 
member of the existing churches will everywhere feel equally at 
home, happy and contented. Speaking for myself, but I believe 
voicing the desire of the leaders of the Church South, we want 
one supreme lawmaking body for the entire church and no mere 
advisory General Council, one book of discipline, no legislative 
powers in any jurisdictional conference such as to make pos- 
sible the impairment of the unity of the church, one college of 
bishops, however elected, to be general superintendents of the 
entire church, and if the commission's plan prevails, we desire 
only those territorial lines which are just, honorable, and in 
accordance with the highest interests of American Methodism 
and the kingdom of God. If we have understood the commis- 
sion's suggestions, which our General Conference has approved 
as a basis for negotiations, these provisions will result from the 
adoption of the proposed plan of unification by reorganization. 
Here I might say that it is interesting to the Southern Meth- 



416 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

odists to note that the Northern Methodists almost always refer 
to the commission's plan as the plan proposed by the Church 
South. The truth is the Church South had only nine represen- 
tatives in the joint commission's membership of twenty-seven. 
Why should they have all the honor of the suggestions ? The Gen- 
eral Conference of the Church South did not change the plan in 
any way except to express its preference of the two names pro- 
posed and to make a substitute suggestion regarding the Negro 
membership. However much the Church South might wish to 
claim the plan, the honor belongs to the joint commission. And 
it is no small honor. Since its publication, five years ago, 
it has been criticized on every hand, but no writer or speaker so 
far as I have been able to find out has ever offered a substitute, 
and to-day it is the only real plan of unification before the 
churches. Of course several distinguished men have opened a 
little wider the doors into the Methodist Episcopal Church, but 
no plan was necessary to that, except Bishop Neely's disciplin- 
ary provision of 1896. For fifty years the two smaller bodies in 
these negotiations have known that they would be welcomed into 
the membership of that great branch of Methodism, but they 
have shown no signs of interest in such a possibility. But as 
soon as the commission's plan was proposed both of the two 
bodies acted promptly and unmistakably, showing conclusively 
their favorable attitude toward an honorable and veritable union. 
In view of this fact and the fact that no other definite and com- 
prehensible plan has been suggested, it seems well that we 
undertake to find out what is really proposed in this plan and 
then weigh its merits and demerits, that we may see if it contains 
the genuine principles of an honorable and substantial union. 
In this paper I shall try to give my interpretation of what the 
plan proposes and incidentally to assign some reasons for my 
belief that it is a valid and commendable basis for a creditable 
and desirable union of the three bodies represented in the joint 
commission that have brought it before the churches. 

The commission's plan is not complete and was not meant to 
be, The commissioners were seeking a basis for negotiations and 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 417 

presented their suggestions to the General Conferences to find 
out whether or not they were on the line of a possible satisfactory 
plan. The General Conference of the Church South has said 
very emphatically "Yes, this is the proper line." The General 
Conference did not commit itself specifically to every element 
in the suggestions, but declared that it considered the "plan out- 
lined" as "tentative, but nevertheless containing the basic prin- 
ciples of a genuine unification of the Methodist bodies." The 
fundamental features of the commission's plan, which is all but 
unanimously indorsed by the Church South, is the jurisdictional 
feature and the next in importance is that which declares that 
"neither the General Conference nor any of the quadrennial 
Conferences shall be invested with final authority to interpret 
the constitutionality of its own actions." But this plan must 
win or lose on the jurisdictional feature. This I heartily favor 
and consider vital in the negotiations for union. 

Before I give any reasons for my indorsement of the juris- 
dictional feature I want to declare myself on what I conceive to 
be proper territorial lines. Where shall they be drawn? My 
answer is, where nature, history, and common sense would indi- 
cate. Among the things to be considered are homogeneity of 
population, business relations, accessibility of various parts of 
sections to each other, resources for church development, and the 
largest success of the church. A sense of justice and fair deal- 
ing is absolutely necessary to harmony. The boundary lines for 
the Southern section that are assumed in Dr. Spencer's book 
would be so manifestly unfair and thoroughly perversive of 
what unification is hoped to accomplish that it could scarcely 
be entertained for a moment in this day by any fair-minded man. 
Rivers, community interests, and political conditions have al- 
ways established satisfactory boundary lines and we may well 
have regard for them in this case. 

I have never heard a suggestion from any member of the 
Church South as to where the lines should be drawn. The sug- 
gestions here offered are my own absolutely, for which no one 
else is responsible, and are made with the foregoing principles in 



418 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

mind. I would prefer four white Synodical Conferences. Five 
and even eight would be just as acceptable if not preferable. 
The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, the Southern boundary 
line of Pennsylvania and the Potomac River, and the State 
line between Ohio and Pennsylvania would be my boundary lines 
to form a Western, a Southeastern, Northeastern, and a Cen- 
tral Synodical Conference. I would put in the Central Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and 
would have 1,210,000 members in round numbers. The North- 
eastern would have 1,225,000 members, the Southeastern 1,600,- 
000 members, the Western 1,520,000 members. These figures 
include the memberships of the three churches. They are not 
exact because some Conferences overlap the territorial lines, 
but they are approximately correct. If there are to be three 
Synodical Conferences I would transfer Illinois, Wisconsin, and 
Minnesota to the Western and take away Louisiana, and that 
Synodical Conference would have about 1,850,000 members. I 
would add Maryland and Louisiana to the Southern and have 
1,805,000 members. The remaining Northern section would 
have about 1,900,000 members. Let it be remembered that 
of the 2,090,000 members of the Church South in the United 
States 680,000, or about one third, live west of the Mississippi 
River. The Western section is perhaps the most rapidly grow- 
ing section and if the four-sections plan is adopted, the Western 
section, because of its immense area, will probably ask the priv- 
ilege of being divided within twenty-five years. This plan of 
division can be criticized and will be criticized. But let him 
who does it present a better with convincing arguments and I 
will be glad to accept it. These territorial lines should be 
subject to change that as the church grows the Synodical 
Conferences may be altered or multiplied as conditions might 
require. 

These Synodical Conference lines would not affect a man's 
church membership or a preacher's Conference membership, 
any more than Annual Conference lines. A bishop would be 
everywhere a general superintendent. Transfers of itinerant 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 419 

preachers would be effected without any regard to jurisdictional 
lines. These lines affect nothing except what pertains to Synod- 
ical Conference matters. The Synodical Conferences are admin- 
istrative units, like Annual Conferences, but larger. They 
should have some legislative powers to meet the peculiarities 
of the various sections, but the real legislative function of the 
church should be in the General Conference. The present 
marked similarity of the two Disciplines, after a separation of 
the two churches for seventy years, indicates clearly that very 
little synodical legislation will ever be needed or desired. Prop- 
erty would be held in the name of the church, as now, and not 
by the Conferences. The General Conference should have the 
exclusive right to deal with doctrines and ritual. The General 
Conference should have no electoral powers except what inheres 
in the confirmation of the election of bishops. The Synodical 
Conference would elect the editor of its organ (there would be 
no general organ), any officers for its boards which the General 
Conference should decide upon, the members of its boards, its 
members of the general boards, and a certain quota of the bishops, 
which quota to be determined by a basis which the General Con- 
ference may adopt. 

No Synodical Conference would elect its own bishops, nor 
should it be required to elect its quota from men belonging to 
the Conferences within its own jurisdiction. A bishop is to be 
a general superintendent, and the entire church may be drawn 
upon for the proper man, but the sections should be protected 
in their choices, which are based upon their knowledge of the 
men that they would choose. These bishops would then become 
general superintendents only upon confirmation by the General 
Conference, or as the General Conference might determine. No 
man could become a synodical bishop unless the General Confer- 
ence provided for such an office after the manner of the mission- 
ary bishop. The general boards and the Book Committee thus 
constituted by the Synodical Conferences could be empowered 
to elect their chief administrative officer and any synodical repre- 
sentatives in the officiary could be elected by the Synodical Con- 



420 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

ferences if it were thought best not to have them elected by the 
general board. Europe, Asia, and South America might have 
Missionary Synodical Conferences, just as they have Missionary 
Annual Conferences, with such powers as the General Confer- 
ence might confer. 

Some one may ask what legislative powers will be given to 
the Synodical Conferences. The commission suggested that the 
General Conference should "have full legislative power over all 
matters distinctively connectional and the Jurisdictional Con- 
ferences have full legislative powers over distinctly local affairs." 
The question will arise what are the distinctively connectional 
and what the local affairs. Evidently the General Conference 
as the real lawmaking body of the church, and its vital bond 
of unity would have full power over all matters of doctrine, 
ritual, order of worship, and requirements of church member- 
ship. The powers, duties, and prerogatives of bishops must be 
defined by the General Conference. The requirements for admis- 
sion into the itinerancy, the course of study for preachers, the 
trial and appeal of bishops and preachers, the duties and pre- 
rogatives of the various Conferences, the establishment and con- 
stitution of general boards, the form of the synodical boards 
that are to be auxiliary to the general boards — all these belong 
to the General Conference, as they are connectional matters. 
The Synodical Conferences are administrative units and will sit 
as administrative bodies rather than as legislative bodies. In my 
opinion they should have a prescribed schedule of duties and 
be presided over by bishops who may be assigned to them by the 
college of bishops or by some provision made by the General Con- 
ference. They will have to do particularly with boards and 
institutions, boundaries and questions of finance. 

Only the Board of Foreign Missions among the general boards 
would probably be an administrative board. The others would 
be great boards of promotion and direction. They would lay 
out the great lines of activity and make the general policies for 
the interests which they are commissioned to promote and direct, 
but the appropriations would go to the synodical boards for 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 421 

administration and supervision. The actual cultivation of the 
field and the formulation of the plans for the most efficient 
administration on the field would rest in the Synodical Confer- 
ences and their hoards. The legislative work of the Jurisdic- 
tional Conference would be concerned chiefly with these dis- 
tinctly local affairs. The universities, colleges, eleemosynary 
institutions, and systems of finance would be some of the local 
affairs. The General Conference would have the power to refer 
any matters to the Synodical Conferences for local settlement 
which were not considered distinctly connectional. The com- 
mission has suggested that these synodical bodies meet quadren- 
nially. Many arguments might be produced to show the impor- 
tance and value of their meeting biennially, but I will not enter 
that discussion in this paper. But all these are details that 
would be worked out by a very large representative commission 
on unification or a convention, after the principles involved have 
"been agreed upon by the General Conferences. 

Why is the jurisdictional feature considered so essential ? My 
answer is, to allay the usual and most obstinate objections to 
union and to supply an administrative unit which would be 
absolutely necessary to efficiency in such a colossal nation-wide 
ecclesiasticisxn. The outstanding objections to union are absorp- 
tion, the dominance of the church by stronger sections, the 
unwieldiness of the united body of 6,000,000 members and cov- 
ering the earth, and the political possibilities for shrewd men in 
such an ecclesiasticism. By the jurisdictional plan these objec- 
tions will largely disappear. In the election of bishops and other 
church officers all sections would be fairly represented, political 
practices with their baneful effects would be reduced to a 
minimum, and the men best qualified for leadership could be 
known to the electorate. That is very important in the admin- 
istration of a great church. In a single Methodism, occupying 
the entire territorial expanse of this country, with a varied popu- 
lation of 100,000,000, and that rapidly growing, with the 
people differing in mental attitudes, in different sections holding 
divergent views on the great questions of state, industry, society, 



422 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

and the church, an intermediary administrative unit between the 
national body and the Annual Conferences, smaller than the one 
and larger than the other, is needed for the highest efficiency. 
The other strong denominations of the United States have State 
bodies between the national and the associational or presbyterial 
organizations. 

The synodical boards would be able to give better cultivation 
and more intelligent and effective supervision, direction, and 
administration than is possible by the national plan. The 
Church South has been charged with demanding the Synodical 
Conference because of a selfish motive, but surely these great and 
commanding considerations are sufficient to refute that charge. 
The Church South does not believe that her motives are selfish 
or in any way dishonorable. Whether or not her sentiments and 
fears regarding absorption are reasonable and well founded, her 
judgment regarding the unwieldiness of the one church for all, 
under the existing system, is sane and her position cannot be suc- 
cessfully controverted. Had there never been a division in 
American Methodism, and the Methodist Episcopal Church now 
had the 6,000,000 white members in the United States, the 
necessity would be upon the General Conference to devise and 
establish some such jurisdictional system as is here proposed 
in order to the highest efficiency and the most successful admin- 
istration. The Church South believes thoroughly in the states- 
manship of the commission's plan. 

The commission very wisely suggested that neither the Gen- 
eral nor the Jurisdictional Conference be vested with final 
authority to interpret the constitutionality of the own actions. 
Bishop McKendree a century ago advocated a similar principle 
which Bishop Soule indorsed throughout his long official life. 
j\Ir. Justice Anderson, of the Supreme Court of the District of 
Columbia, in 1912 said: "The highest duty of the church, as 
well as of the state, is to safeguard the laws of its existence." 
When it is remembered how a General Conference is constituted 
it is readily seen how easily, with irresponsible power, it could 
go beyond its legal boundaries and do hurt to the great system 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 423 

of Methodist polity. The commission's suggestion seems emi- 
nently wise. 

I must say that I see no need for two houses in the General 
Conference. To my mind such a system is useless, cumbersome, 
bunglesome; it would prolong the session and be expensive; it 
would perpetuate more or less the spirit of sectionalism ; it would 
make legislation difficult. It is undesirable and even objection- 
able, because it is needless and burdensome. 

What of the Negro ? Too frequently have sentiment and prej- 
udice had more influence than have common sense, sound judg- 
ment, and genuine religion in answering this question. The 
real question, to be faced dispassionately and conscientiously by 
Negroes and whites alike, is what is best for the Negroes and 
what is best for the whites now and what will be best for both 
in the future? There are 340,000 Negro Methodists in the 
Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Protestant Churches, out of 
a population of 10,000,000. There are about 1,500,000 members 
in the three independent Negro Methodist Churches (African, 
African Zion, and Colored). The Negro Baptists are all united 
in a strong, vigorous, aggressive church of 2,000,000 members. 
What is the duty of white Methodism to the 1,850,000 Method- 
ists now divided into four competing groups? Some one says 
take them all into the one big united Methodist church. 
Why suppose they want to come? Two of the Negro Method- 
isms were organized in 1816 and 1817 and one in 1870. If they 
wanted to get into a mixed church, why have they not united 
with the Methodist Episcopal Church long ago ? Has not their 
action been determined by race consciousness, race aspirations, 
desire for self-government, and the sincere belief that develop- 
ment in an independent body where their own leaders bear the 
responsibility will be more rapid than in a mixed body where 
whites naturally assume leadership and bear the chief responsi- 
bility ? There are principles here involved which must be recog- 
nized if we are to render to the colored brethren the highest 
service. 

It does seem, in view of the existing divisions among the 



424 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Negro Methodists and the consequent friction, competition, and 
strife which are being perpetuated, that the establishment of 
a united Negro Methodist Church into which the four leading 
Negro churches would be merged should have primary con- 
sideration in the thought and planning of both races. With that 
in mind we might next consider how that union can best be 
brought about, be made harmonious and substantial, and so 
constituted as to give to that great multitude of colored brethren 
the highest means of self-development, race evangelism, and the 
broadest equipment for missionary endeavor. Will the leaders 
of the two independent churches, with their century of history, 
and the third, with almost a half century of commendable 
development, be inclined to consider a union that will make 
them a part of a mixed church whose chief leadership can neces- 
sarily never be of their own race? Will not the union of all 
Negro Methodists, nearly two millions strong, into a great, vig- 
orous body of their own, with their own leaders, church polity 
and activities, ready to stand side by side with their mighty 
Baptist sister, present to them a stronger appeal, a more rea- 
sonable action, and a more alluring outlook for them as a reli- 
gious people? 

These considerations more than racial prejudice determined 
the action of the last General Conference of the Church South 
when it, according to its most matured judgment, recommended 
the unification of the four branches of Negro Methodism into 
an independent organization holding fraternal relations with 
the reorganized and united church. Some one may ask would 
the Church South agree to any plan that includes Negro mem- 
bership and Negro representation in the General Conference? I 
do not know. I would not undertake to speak for so great a 
body, but it is a fact that the General Conference of the Church 
South did not vote down the suggestion in the commission's plan 
that "the Negro membership of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and such organiza- 
tions of the colored Methodists as may enter into agreement with 
them may be constituted and recognized as one of the Jurisdic- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 425 

tional Conferences," but recommended as a substitute what was 
strongly believed to be a better plan for the Negroes and for 
the white Methodists as well. But if the Negro membership of 
the four churches should express their preference for the juris- 
dictional section in the great reorganized and united church to 
an independent organization of their own I cannot believe that 
the Church South would do other than readily acquiesce in their 
wishes and behave toward them as becometh brethren to breth- 
ren in the Lord whatever their race or nationality. 

What action should be taken by the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in view of its large Negro membership of 336,500? 
This is a matter altogether outside my province and it would be 
the greatest impertinence for me to utter an opinion. But per- 
haps I may be allowed to express a hope that whatever is done, 
no action will be considered satisfactory or final which does not 
open the way for the eventual unification of all the Negro Meth- 
odists of the four churches. Competition, altar against altar, 
friction, strife must be done away with them as with their white 
brethren. To this great cause we should set ourselves as flint. 
Any action which falls short of accomplishing this great end 
must be considered temporary. The complete unification of the 
Methodist hosts in the United States must become a substantial 
reality before the end we seek shall have been reached. 

I have now set forth in simple terms by understanding of the 
commission's suggestions and some reasons for my approval 
of the Plan of Unification which has been endorsed by the Gen- 
eral Conference of the Church South. It is quite evident that 
if my interpretations are correct the plan has been woefully mis- 
understood by some brethren who have discussed it in books and 
the church press. It is, to be sure, a plan of unification by reor- 
ganization, but not unification by "division" or "disruption." 
It provides for a genuine unity in all essential matters, while it 
allows for variations only in the methods of promotion and 
administration in the work of the jurisdictional boards and insti- 
tutions. There may be a better plan of unification than this 
proposed by the joint commission, but it has not yet come to 



4:26 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

light. I would not declare obstinately that no other plan is pos- 
sible, but I do declare that this plan is altogether feasible, the 
unification upon its basis is entirely desirable, because, as I 
understand it, it contains the basic principles of a genuine 
organic union of the Methodist bodies of the United States. I 
commit myself thoroughly to it and will gladly accept member- 
ship and service in any section in which I might fall or to which 
I might be assigned. Should the territorial lines be drawn as 
I have suggested my lot would be cast with the western section 
and to it I would rejoice to go and give my remaining years and 
strength. While I love my native South with an intense devo- 
tion, yet there is no section of New England or of the middle 
North to which I would not willingly go at the call of those in 
authority. The Methodism of this country would then all be 
mine and in it I should be everywhere at home. 

Of course objections to the commission's plan of unification by 
reorganization will arise because of the sacrifices which are in- 
evitable. Some man will declare, "We cannot give up our his- 
toric name." But what of the others? What is more historic 
than "Methodist" ? and that is common, to all. We can adopt 
that. Another man will object to a certain State falling into a 
certain section. That is personal. Another will decry the pro- 
posed jurisdictional system as too expensive, but only a little 
calculation will show it to be less expensive than the present sys- 
tem. Methodists who take their bearings from the first half of 
their separation are fixed in their sectionalism, Northern and 
Southern, and are poorly prepared to consider or even discover 
any virtue in any plan of unity. Their cry is always and every- 
where, "Leave well enough alone." Only as men are caught up 
into a sense of responsibility for the Methodism that is to be 
do they wake up to the call and necessity of new relations. Men 
must see that the times and conditions require an outspoken 
loyalty to American Methodism as a whole, and also sincere 
good will and conspicuous consideration of every branch for 
every other. That loyalty involves not only patriotism and a 
sense of national responsibility, but also an enlarged conception 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 427 

of the duty of the church which can be fully discharged only by 
the consolidation as well as vitalization of its superb forces. As 
Methodists we owe it to each other to come to a clear knowledge 
of what each church really desires and to a clear common under- 
standing of what is really proposed by any church, commission, 
or individual, that without any suspicion of each other's motives 
we may be able to act intelligently and spontaneously. To this 
determined effort we must lend ourselves with earnestness and 
conscientious devotion. When we have come to understand each 
other, I confidently believe that we shall be able to say "We be 
brethren"; and then we shall complete the plans of unification 
which shall bring us rejoicing into a common Methodism there 
to remain and to labor to the end of the age. 



■M8 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



A SUGGESTED WORKING PLAN FOR METHODIST 

UNION 

Alexander Walters, D.D. 

Mr. Chairman: I hail with delight the opportunity to meet 
with this goodly company of Methodist churchmen who have 
gathered here to write another chapter in favor of the unifica- 
tion of American Methodism — a religious organization which 
has done so much for the spiritual, intellectual and material 
development of our nation. 

Methodism, through her ability, energy, and numbers, has 
taken a foremost place among the mighty agencies which have 
been used of God to give this nation first place among the peoples 
of the earth in invention, commerce, and the propagation of the 
ideals of human brotherhood. It has furnished to the nation 
presidents, eminent members of Congress, able jurists, con- 
scientious and capable State officials. Many of the professors of 
the leading universities of the land have been recruited from the 
ranks of our Methodism. 

And yet, wonderful as has been the achievements of our 
Methodism, she has not been able to avoid the rock of disunion ; 
but, like the Roman, the Anglican, Presbyterian, and other large 
bodies, she has had her divisions. I am not sure but that in 
some respects her divisions have strengthened her numerically; 
but I feel pretty sure that the divisions have served their mis- 
sion and the time is at hand for a reunited Methodism. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church experienced its first divi- 
sion in the year 1791, when Rev. William Hamitt led a dissatis- 
fied faction out of the church at Charleston, S. C, which organ- 
ized and became known as the Primitive Methodists. Being- 
actuated by vanity rather than any distinct principle, the move- 
ment failed. 

In 1792 Rev. James O'Kelley led a split from the mother 
church ; this division called itself the Republican Methodists. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 429 

At first it appeared that the movement would prove formidable 
and become a rival of the young mother, but disintegrating influ- 
ences set in and it never attained a robust growth as did some 
of the other offshoots. 

In 1793 a colored faction, under the leadership of Eichard 
Allen, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, withdrew and in the 
year 1796 another colored faction at New York city, under the 
leadership of James Varick, separated from the mother church; 
the former organized as the African Methodist Episcopal Church 
and the latter as the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. 
These two factions withdrew because, as they stated it, the pro- 
scriptions existing in the church at that time were insupportable 
and unbearable and were hindrances to their fullest development. 

These two organizations, retaining the doctrine and polity 
of the mother church, have grown to be mighty forces in spirit- 
ual and race uplift. They have attained to a membership of 
1,188,608 with 8,552 ministers and 9,180 churches, supported a 
large number of high schools and colleges, with property values 
exceeding fifteen million dollars. It would seem that the with- 
drawal of these colored churches was providential and that their 
works stand as their justification in their withdrawal from the 
mother church. 

About the time of the withdrawal of the above named churches 
another colored faction left the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
led by Peters Spencer, of Wilmington, Delaware; it organized 
under the name of the African Union Church and later adopted 
the name of the American Methodist Episcopal Church. 

The strained relations between America and England grow- 
ing out of the War of 1812-1814 was the cause of the with- 
drawal of the Canadian membership of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in America. This membership organized as the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church of Canada in the year 1828. 

In 1830 a number of expelled ministers, laymen and other dis- 
affected members of the Methodist Episcopal Church formed at 
Baltimore, Maryland, the Methodist Protestant Church. Among 
their chief contentions were lay representation and that local 



430 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

preachers should be members of the General Conference — it is 
still a considerable and influential body. 

Slavery 

The iniquitous system of slavery, said by Mr. Wesley to be 
"the sum of all villainies/' was at the bottom of the largest with- 
drawal that the Methodist Episcopal Church has ever sustained. 
This division occurred in 1844-45, when thirteen of the Southern 
Conferences of the church withdrew from that body and formed 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, an organization which 
has increased until it has a membership of 2,073,035 with a 
ministerial roll of 7,203 and 16,787 churches with some of the 
best men and women that ever lived in this church. In 1843 
another faction had withdrawn from the mother church owing to 
the fact that they did not think the Methodist Episcopal Church 
was as pronounced in its opposition to slavery as it should be, 
and organized the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America. 

Notwithstanding all these divisions the mother church, peer- 
less in her achievements and phenomenal in her growth, stand- 
ing out like an impregnable fortress for manhood rights and 
all that is noblest and best in life, is the wonder and admiration 
of all the ecclesiastical organizations in America. 

Many have been the efforts to unite the divided members of 
the Methodist family; but with two or three exceptions, and 
these of the smaller bodies, all such attempts have proven 
abortive. None that has ever withdrawn has ever returned. 

When one remembers the money, time, and energy which have 
been expended to effect a union of the separate branches of Meth- 
odism and the resultant failures, the question naturally arises, 
what are the insurmountable obstacles which have prevented 
the success of plans for organic union ? This question has been 
answered again and again since we have been here. 

The question is often asked by the Romanist, "Did not our 
Lord Jesus pray that his church should be one?" meaning by 
this statement the Roman church as the one referred to. We 
answer, yes, our Lord did pray, "That they all might be one; as 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 431 

thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they may also be 
one in us." "The union between the Father and Son is not a 
visible manifestation, but a spiritual inference/' hence the unity 
spoken of in the seventeenth chapter of John is not an organic 
union of denominations, but it is a spiritual unity which the 
apostle Paul had in mind when he exhorted the church at 
Ephesus to "endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the 
bonds of peace." It is a unity of love and service for the 
Master. The command for such a unity is absolute. 

As to organic union of Protestantism, and especially the 
organic union of the different branches of Methodism in 
America, the only way to know the mind of the Lord in the 
matter is to note his leadings. All the signs of the times indi- 
cate that such a union is desirable, and that the Lord is leading 
in that direction, and that the struggle will continue until this 
union is consummated. What is needed to accomplish this much 
desired end is more genuine Christianity, more of the spirit of 
love, more self -surrender, less selfishness, and a greater ecclesias- 
tical statesmanship than we have exhibited heretofore. 

Says Bishop Merrill, "All agree that if union comes it must be 
reached upon a basis honorable to all, and as the result of an 
inward persuasion which is so nearly universal as to be positively 
domination. Every one will concede that the movement, in 
order to be either desirable or successful, must be as nearly spon- 
taneous as is possible — the outgoing of a conviction rooted in 
Christian sentiment and controlling the consciousness of duty. 
When such preparation comes union will follow as naturally 
as ripened fruit drops to earth." 

We need not expect organic union of any of the branches of 
Methodism so long as such statements are heard at the adjourn- 
ment of commissions on organic union as the following : "We did 
not surrender a point." "We outwitted the other fellows." "We 
have not lost a word out of our title." "We swallowed them 
up." "We have retained our dignity." "Why, certainly we did 
not vote for the union; it was not honorable to us." "It is to 
be a case of absorption." 



432 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

And this "honorable to us" as a general thing means we did 
not get the advantage in the deal. In many of the efforts for 
organic union there has been a greater ambition to excel in 
ecclesiastical diplomacy than there has been to effect a perma- 
nent union of the parties concerned. If organic union is desir- 
able, and I think it is, then any sacrifice that does not surrender 
or compromise manhood rights or any of the great truths of the 
Bible ought to be made in the interest of such union. 

I have been a member of all the commissions appointed by 
the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church within the past 
twenty-five years to effect federation or organic union between 
the Methodist Episcopal, the African Methodist Episcopal, the 
Colored Methodist Episcopal, and the Union African Methodist 
Episcopal Churches, and in every instance when the question of 
federation or organic union has been submitted for action I have 
voted in the affirmative. 

In the year 1892 a commission on organic union was appointed 
by the African Methodist Episcopal and African Methodist 
Episcopal Zion General Conferences which met in that year; 
the former meeting at Philadelphia and the latter at Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania. The commissions met at Harrisburg, Pennsyl- 
vania, May 20, 1892, and agreed upon a plan of organic union 
between the two churches represented. The main points of dif- 
ferences were noted, such as the appointment of class leaders, 
band societies, election of General Conference delegates, dollar 
money (at that time the general assessment of the African Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church was one dollar and that of the African 
Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was fifty cents), and the mode 
of election of trustees and their duties. 

All these minor matters were referred to the first united Gen- 
eral Conference of the bodies represented which lias never met. 
The name agreed upon was the African-Zion Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. This name enabled the Zion commissioners to 
loudly proclaim that they had not surrendered a thing. The 
name, however, was submitted by Bishop B. F. Lee of the 
African Methodist Episcopal Church and received twenty-two 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 433 

votes in its favor out of a vote of twenty-four which formed the 
commission. 

On leaving the church the late Bishop H. M. Turner declared 
that the hyphen would mean nothing to colored people and that 
the united church would ever be called the African Methodist 
Episcopal Zion Church. Notwithstanding the objections inter- 
posed, the plan was submitted to the Quarterly, Annual, and 
General Conferences and passed by the required vote; yet when 
the commission appointed by the General Conferences to con- 
summate the union met in Washington city, 1897, the whole 
plan was defeated and the union deferred. 

It is with sadness that I state that all attempts at organic 
union on the part of the colored bodies have failed, as have all 
similar attempts upon the part of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It seems 
that we are not to have organic union until we are willing to take 
into that union all branches of Methodism, white and black, 
large and small. 

The Kind of Union Desieed 

I understand that the plan for organic union agreed upon at 
the last session of the General Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, and which is to be submitted to the 
General Conferences of the other branches of Methodism, con- 
templates the union of the white branches of Methodism, enter- 
taining the hope that the union of the colored branches of Meth- 
odism will ultimately follow. 

Of course it is understood that the union of the colored 
branches is to include the colored membership of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, when said membership shall have been organ- 
ized into a separate and independent body with its own bishops, 
general officers, etc. Such separation as the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, recommends would result in a complete 
divorcement between the white and colored churches. To secure 
such separation would probably enable the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, South, to unite with the Methodist Episcopal Church, 



434 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

but while it would bridge the chasm between these two bodies 
it would widen the breach and close the doors for centuries if not 
forever to a united Methodism in America. 

A Fearful Surrender 

In 1844 it was physical slavery that demanded of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church a surrender of a Christian principle, 
which she refused to do. In this the year of our Lord 1916, 
seventy-two years after the separation and fifty-two years after 
the emancipation of the slaves, it is political and social slavery 
that calls again upon the same church to sacrifice her black 
brother on the altar of prejudice, and this in the face of the 
fact of a half century of freedom, training in the best schools 
of the land, and a moral, spiritual, intellectual, and material 
progress that has astonished the world. 

It seems to me too late in the day of this advanced civilization 
to ask such a tremendous sacrifice of principle on the part of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church and her black brother. I for one 
am willing to continue separate Conferences, as we have them 
to-day, Quarterly and Annual, but with a General Conference 
legislating for the united Methodism, granting to all its constit- 
uent bodies and members equal rights and privileges according 
to membership; thus continuing the bond of brotherly love, 
making organic union a reality and not a sham. 

Hindrances to be Removed as I See it Before We Can 

Have Organic Union 

The hindrances that must be removed before we can have 
organic union are : 

First. A willingness to enter more heartily and sincerely in 
the plan of making the federation already existing a workable 
affair, with frequent meetings and with a stricter observance of 
the enactments of the federation. In a word, we need to do more 
courting; we ought to draw closer together and get better 
acquainted with each other. 

Second. A willingness to have a united General Conference 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 435 

which shall legislate for and have control of American Meth- 
odism, white and black. 

Third. A willingness to submit all fundamental doctrines, 
church polity and non-essentials for settlement to the first united 
General Conference, with a solemn pledge to be governed by 
its decisions. 

I am of the opinion that one of the Jurisdictional Confer- 
ences should be colored, with all the rights and privileges of any 
other constituent body of the supreme General Conference. 

A party of tourists started out one day to ascend the Alps of 
Switzerland, and in order, as they thought, to make themselves 
more secure, they tied themselves together. Up and up they 
went to this and that craggy height, while the guests at the 
hotel watched their movements through spy glasses. Suddenly 
one of the watchers dropped her glass and fainted. Another 
raised her glass just in time to see three of the men fall to 
their death. 

A party was sent out to bring them in. Presently the survivor 
returned, but the guests would have nothing to do with him. 
When he entered the dining room, they fled. When he entered 
the smoking room, the men fled. Seeing himself isolated, he 
asked the proprietor what the trouble was. Said he, "I thought 
the guests would have been glad to see me return and would 
have rushed forth to greet me and congratulate me. I am dis- 
appointed." Said the proprietor, "On examination of the bodies 
it was found that the rope was cut." 

I appeal to the men of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, to put aside their traditions of the past, and, rising above 
race prejudice as many of the bishops and general officers have 
done, take the black brother into the contemplated united Meth- 
odist Church of America. I appeal to the noble men of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, who have kept, as in the ark of the 
covenant, the highest ideals of Methodism for one hundred and 
fifty years, to place the crowning glory upon the head of the mother 
church by giving the Negroes an organic place in the union. 

Brothers, do not cut the rope ! 



436 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 



A SUGGESTED WORKING PLAN FOR METHODIST 

UNION 

Edgae Blake, D.D. 

Foe three days representatives of seven branches of American 
Methodism, embracing ninety-five per cent of the followers of 
Wesley on this continent, have been facing the problem of Meth- 
odist unification. That the problem is real and the difficulties 
great no one will doubt who has listened to the papers that have 
been read and the discussions that have followed. But I am not 
ready to concede that the problem, perplexing as it may appear 
to be, is insoluble. I do not recall a single problem that has 
been presented or a difficulty that has been discussed whose 
existence is due to forces or conditions which we ourselves do 
not control. Climate and geography present no obstacles that 
grace and good sense cannot overcome. What ought to be done 
can be done, provided we have a mind to do it. If it be the 
will of God that American Methodism should be one, and we 
really will to do his will, he will give us the statesmanship for 
the enterprise. Nothing is impossible to the obedient followers 
of the good God. 

Any attempt to construct a practicable plan of unification 
must keep certain principles clearly in mind continually. 

First. The kingdom of God is vastly bigger than any branch 
of the Methodist family. Its interests must have primary con- 
sideration over any purely denominational concerns. 

The criticism has been made on the proposed plan of unifi- 
cation of the two Episcopal Methodisms, that one body would 
have to give up more than it would get. It has been alleged 
that the body referred to, under the plan proposed, would be 
called upon to surrender to the other body more than 6,000 
cl lurches, more than 600,000 church members and $25,000,000 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 437 

in property, and that it would receive in return only 118 
churches, 10,065 church members and $223,800 in property. 
The plan has been condemned by many because of what they 
have been pleased to term an "unfair exchange of equities." But 
supposing the facts, the accuracy of which are open to serious 
doubt, are as stated, it may well be asked, "Is unification to be 
arranged on a bargain basis?" If so, the sooner we cease our 
deliberations and agree each to go his own way with what he has, 
the better it will be for all concerned. It were better for union 
that it should never be born than that it should be conceived 
in selfishness and shapen in the iniquity of the horse trader's 
ethics. The question ought not to be, what shall unification 
profit this or that branch of Methodism ? but what shall it profit 
the kingdom of God? To discuss the problem on any lower 
plane would be unworthy of our high calling in Christ Jesus. 

Second. All talk about the "equities in the case" should cease. 
No denomination has any equity in the kingdom of God; all 
that it has it holds in trust, and that not for itself, but for others. 
Likewise, the "rights of majorities and minorities" should have 
no place in the discussion. They sound a false note and should 
be silenced: they are of the earth earthy; from the dust they 
came, to the dust they should return. If we must safeguard 
the interests of majorities and protect the rights of minorities, 
as some assert, then we have not advanced far "enough in the 
spirit of mutual trust to make union desirable and worth while. 
Unless the majority is willing to share all that it has with every 
lesser part, without thought of loss or gain to itself, and unless 
each lesser part is willing to entrust its all to the larger whole, 
without reservation or fear, we are not ready for union. If we 
must protect ourselves against each other, real union is impos- 
sible and undesirable. Consummated on such a basis it would be 
what Bishop Denny so graphically characterized as "a syna- 
gogue of Satan rather than a church of God." Union can never 
be consummated on such a basis. 

Third. We must believe in one another. We must give others 
credit for the same sincerity of purpose, purity of motive, and 



43S A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

honest desire for the larger interests of the kingdom, that we 
claim for ourselves. The atmosphere of suspicion, if it ever 
existed, must give way to the spirit of Christian confidence and 
brotherly good will. Mistrust makes for blindness and pre- 
vents that larger generosity that is essential to the successful 
settlement of great issues, especially when concession and com- 
promise are necessary. We may question the wisdom of a 
brother's methods, but we must not impugn his motives ; we may 
condemn his judgment, but not his character. There must be 
a union of heart as well as hand, if unification is to be whole- 
some and enduring. "Little children, love one another" is a pre- 
requisite for successful unification. 

Fourth. Efficiency must be the test of any proposal. Only 
that plan that promises the maximum of power to the united 
church and the maximum of gain to the kingdom of God should 
receive favorable consideration and final approval. 

Having called your attention to these principles, let us look 
at certain basic features that should enter into and form a part 
of any practicable plan of union. 

(a) One Church. American Methodism embraces seventeen 
different denominational bodies, varying in numbers from a few 
thousand to more than four millions, and totaling more than 
eight millions of communicants and twenty-five million con- 
stituents, with missions covering every continent and including 
almost every race of people on the face of the earth. 

Any plan or process of union that will not weld these vast and 
varying interests into a real unity must fail for lack of cohesive- 
ness. A confederation of churches will not suffice. There must 
be one church, in name, in organization, and in spirit, and only 
one. The whole must be more than the sum of its parts. It 
must be that plus the consciousness of the whole and the suprem- 
acy of the whole, in every part and over every part. The power 
of each part must become the strength of the whole, and the 
strength of the whole must become the power of each part, 
otherwise there is no practical gain in unification. 

In the early days, our political fathers formed a confedera- 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 439 

tion of States and provided that each State should retain "its 
sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, juris- 
diction, and right which is not by this Constitution expressly 
delegated to the United States in Congress assembled." Their 
confederation was a contract between individual States, not a 
union of the people, and confederation was a failure. It was 
not until a real union was formed which declared, "We, the 
people of the United States do ordain and establish 

this Constitution for the United States of America," and "this 
Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land" that a nation 
was born in the fullness of power. Any ecclesiastical union 
that falls short of welding the whole into a real unit without 
distinction of parts will fail. There must be no branch distinc- 
tions. One must not be permitted to say "I am of Paul," and 
another, "I am of Apollos." Rather must we say in word and 
deed, "We are all one in Christ Jesus." 

We are not divided, 

All one body we, 
One in hope and doctrine, 

One in charity. 

There must be one church with one creed, one catechism, one 
ritual, one hymnal, one constitution, and one government su- 
preme over all. 

(b) A General Conference. The larger the body and the 
vaster and more varied its interests, the more necessary is cen- 
tralization of control. The success of the Eoman Catholic 
church is the outstanding and undeniable illustration of the 
truth of this principle. The papacy and the centralized 
authority which it represents is the secret of the strength of the 
Romish system. I am not advocating a Methodist papacy, but 
I do say that the authority to determine the policies of a great 
church, and to put those policies into practice, must be lodged 
somewhere in somebody. There must be some body in which 
the legislative executive and judicial authority of the church 
shall be vested. Any sufficient scheme of reorganization must 
provide for a General Conference that under constitutional pro- 



440 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

vision and restriction shall have full and final authority over all 
eonnectional affairs of united Methodism. 

Shall the General Conference have power to determine the 
constitutionality of its own acts? Why not? Where could you 
hope to find a larger number of Methodist men of judicial 
temperament and training, skilled in ecclesiastical jurisprudence, 
than in a body made up of the strongest ministerial and lay 
minds of the church ? If it be said that such men would be in a 
minority, it may be replied, that it is doubtful if there has ever 
been a General Conference in which this minority has not con- 
trolled the action of the General Conference on constitutional 
matters. The Methodist Episcopal Church has given its General 
Conference supreme judicial authority for more than a century 
and in not a single instance has its constitution been violated. 
In the light of such a fact that could probably be paralleled in 
the history of other churches, it would appear academic, to say 
the least, to talk of the necessity of protecting the constitution 
against the encroachments of the General Conference. 

(c) Sectional Conferences. But we must go a step further. 
If centralization of authority is necessary to eonnectional con- 
trol, the distribution of authority is necessary to local efficiency. 
Justice Hughes, in a recent address before the New York State 
Bar Association, said: "An overcentralized government would 
break down of its own weight If there were centered in 

Washington a single source of authority from which proceeded 
all the governmental forces of the country I think we 

should swiftly demand and set up a different system. If we did 
not have States we should speedily have to create them." 

This truth would be especially applicable to a unified Method- 
ism. It would be an intellectual impossibility for a General 
Conference, made up of inexperienced men brought together 
from the ends of the earth, to legislate intelligently in local 
matters for the widely separated sections of the church. Such 
a General Conference, as a whole, would know little or nothing 
of conditions in Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, India, Africa, 
Europe, South America, Mexico, or even many sections of 



tJNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 441 

America. It would not have the close contact with these fields 
or the information concerning them that would be necessary to 
intelligent legislation in their behalf. 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
is finding it increasingly difficult and impracticable to legislate 
for the local interests of its widely separated and differing con- 
stituencies. It is only a question of time when local legislative 
and administrative efficiency will force this church to devise 
some form of home rule for the various sections of its connection. 
If this is true of an organization of four million members, how 
much more true would it be of an organization of more than 
eight millions with interests much wider and more varied. 

The closer you bring your law-making body, within reasonable 
limits, to the field for which it legislates, the wiser your legisla- 
tion is likely to be. For example, the Methodists west of the 
Mississippi river would be better able to legislate intelligently 
for the local problems of that territory than men and women 
brought together from every clime and continent under the sun, 
many of whom have never seen the West and know nothing of its 
conditions and its needs. What is true of the territory west of 
the Mississippi is equally true of other sections of world Meth- 
odism. Such considerations force the conclusion that, in addi- 
tion to a General Conference with its authority over connectional 
affairs, there must be created a series of Sectional Conferences 
"each autonomous in its local concerns." 

(d) Laymen in Annual Conferences. If united Methodism 
is to make the largest possible moral and spiritual impact upon 
the life of the world at large, it must mobilize all its available 
resources, lay as well as clerical, for the effort. In modern war- 
fare the mobilization of every class of citizens is necessary to 
victory. The artisan in the munition factory and the farmer 
in the wheat field are as essential to success as the soldier in the 
trenches. The same principle applies to the conflicts of the 
Kingdom. Every available man and woman must be enlisted 
and given the largest opportunity to serve the church. We must 
get away from the heresy that the ministry is the whole thing 



44? A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

in church life. Laymen have their place in the Kingdom and 
should be given a voice in all the councils of the church. They 
should certainly be included in the membership of the Annual 
Conferences, and this most strategic unit of Methodist organiza- 
tion be given the added wisdom and strength of the layman's 
counsel and his devoted leadership. 

And considering the fact that the women of the church con- 
stitute its biggest asset, numerical and otherwise, simple justice 
and practical expediency, to say nothing of gallantry, should 
lead us to include women as well as men in all the councils of 
the denomination. 

Certain questions naturally arise concerning the plans herein 
proposed, and some of them may be anticipated with profit. 

1. How shall the Sectional and General Conferences be con- 
stituted ? In answer it may be said that if each Sectional Con- 
ference is made up of the bishops of the section and an equal 
number of ministerial and lay delegates elected by the Annual 
Conferences of the sections on a proportionate basis, we shall 
have a thoroughly democratic body in the Sectional Conference. 
If the General Conference is composed of all the bishops of the 
several sections and a fixed number of ministerial and lay dele- 
gates elected by the several Sectional Conferences we shall have 
a thoroughly representative body in the General Conference, and 
the strongest group of church leaders that could be selected under 
a representative system. 

We believe that a General Conference so constituted would 
have immense advantage over the proposal for a General Confer- 
ence of two houses one elected by the Annual Conferences and 
the other by the Sectional Conferences. If simplicity and effi- 
ciency of organization are desirable, then it would seem that a 
two-house arrangement requiring the concurrent action of both 
would be too slow and cumbersome in its procedure to be prac- 
ticable. 

No plan of union will be complete that does not provide ade- 
quately for the local self-government of the several mission fields. 
In this connection I direct your attention to the fact, that in 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 443 

all probability it will be found desirable to create two classes 
of Sectional Conferences., a major and a minor. As a matter of 
administrative convenience it will be necessary to create Sec- 
tional Conferences in each of our foreign mission fields and give 
them home rule in local matters, as other Sectional Conferences 
are given those privileges. But it is doubtful if a missionary 
Sectional Conference should be given the same representation in 
the General Conference as those Sectional Conferences that are 
self-supporting. The United States makes a distinction be- 
tween States and Territories in their representation in Congress. 
The latter have only a limited while the former have unlimited 
representation. We make a similar though more drastic distinc- 
tion in the Methodist Episcopal Church between the Annual 
Conferences and Mission Conferences. To the former we give 
full representation in the General Conference, to the latter we 
give no representation at all. Personally I am of the opinion 
that the Missionary Sectional Conferences should be given 
representation in the General Conference, but upon a much 
smaller numerical basis than the major or self-supporting sec- 
tional units. Such a distinction might well be applied to the 
language and racial groups in the home field. It provides a way 
for the solution of certain practical questions that are now 
confessedly difficult of solution. It would seem to solve the 
colored problem. It would retain the Negro in the church as 
an integral part of the organization. It would give him vital 
contact with the white sections of the church and provide for 
him their sympathy and support. It would give him an oppor- 
tunity for racial development under the leadership of his own 
race, and make possible that free self -initiative that he so greatly 
needs and so much desires. We believe that the more this sug- 
gestion is considered the more favor it will find among both 
blacks and whites as a just and reasonable expediency. 

2. The objection has been made that if you commit all local 
matters to the Sectional Conferences there will be nothing but 
an "infinitesimal residuum" left for the General Conference to 
control, and that its function will merely fraternal and its char- 



444 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

actor ecumenical only. But the moment you define the duties 
of the General Conference in terms of conneetionalism the seri- 
ousness of this objection vanishes. A General Conference hav- 
ing in its control the articles of faith, general polity, conditions 
of membership, ministerial qualifications, judicial system, pub- 
lishing interests, missionary and benevolent enterprises, of the 
church and sundry other matters as well of general concern, 
would have vastly more than "infinitesimal residuum" to care 
for. The very fundamentals of the church government and life 
would be committed to its keeping. What would the Sectional 
Conferences care for? All educational institutions, homes, hos- 
pitals, and other enterprises of a local or sectional character 
would be committed to the control of the Sectional Conference. 
It would have legislative, executive, and judicial authority over 
all local interests, and in addition would have administrative 
control of all connectional matters within its section. The sug- 
gested plan of union of the Methodist Episcopal, the Methodist 
Episcopal, South, and the Methodist Protestant Churches, pro- 
vides that the Sectional Conferences shall also elect the bishops, 
subject to continuation by the General Conference. Objection 
has been made to this provision and the question is raised : 

3. Shall the General or the Sectional Conference elect the 
bishops and control their activities ? Our ideal of the episcopacy 
will determine our answer to this question. If the bishops are 
to roam at large at their own sweet will, without any particular 
responsibility anywhere, then it does not matter much if they 
are not elected at all. A globe-trotting episcopacy has outlived 
its usefulness, and the sentiment of the church is strongly sitting 
against that type of alleged supervision. In the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church each bishop is now responsible for the supervision 
of a definite area and is held accountable for the same. While 
I venture no suggestion to any other branch of episcopal Meth- 
odism, I do not hesitate to express the opinion that in a reorgan- 
ized church, requiring the most careful supervision and leader- 
ship it would be fatal to create a superintendent')' with authority 
everywhere but with responsibility nowhere. A hop-skip-and- 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 445 

jump episcopacy has no place in reorganized Methodism. The 
bishops must be assigned to definite areas for continuous super- 
vision and be held accountable for the proper discharge of their 
duties. The logic of this is that the section that is served should 
have the determining voice in the selection of the one who is 
to serve it. This is democracy and efficiency and it needs no 
other argument. 

4. Would there not be a danger of confusion and conflict be- 
tween the General Conference and the Sectional Conference? 
Not necessarily. Certainly there would be no greater danger of 
confusion and conflict than between States and the federal gov- 
ernment. In our political system confusion and conflict are 
avoided by careful constitutional provision. The realm of State 
and Federal control is so clearly defined in the fundamental law 
that the danger of misunderstanding is reduced to a minimum. 
With the duties of the General and Sectional Conferences clearly 
defined by constitutional provisions and restriction, the prob- 
ability of conflict of authority would be so limited as to become 
an academic rather than a practical question. 

5. The objection is frequently made that the creation of 
Sectional Conferences would tend to the division of the Church. 
To me the very reverse of this appears to be true. It is the one 
thing essential to the maintenance of the unity and world integ- 
rity of Methodism. Under present conditions, as Bishop Denny 
pointed out on Tuesday evening, it would be only a question 
of time when the Methodism of China would ask to be set apart 
as an independent church, as the Japanese asked and were 
granted the privilege a few years ago. And what would be true 
of China would be true of every foreign field, and sooner or later 
Methodism would become simply a series of unrelated national 
units, or fragments bound together only by the ties of a common 
heritage. The Methodist Church as a world organization would 
cease. On the present basis, or on any basis of a strictly central- 
ized organization, we would be doomed to division and disinte- 
gration as a world unit. On the other hand, when Japanese 
Methodism asked to be set apart into an independent church, if 



44<l A WORKING CONFERENCE 

we could have created a Japanese Sectional Conference that 
would have given Japan home rule in all matters Japanese, there 
are reasons for believing that such a creation would have met 
every need and Japan would have remained an integral part of 
organic Methodism. What would have been true of Japan 
would be true of China and of every other foreign field. Instead 
of the provision for Sectional Conferences becoming the instru- 
ment of division it would appear to be the only means that can 
prevent our ultimate disintegration as a world organization. 

More, it is the only hope we have for the ultimate unity of 
the Wesleyans, who are now separated by national interests and 
organizations. It is not improbable that Canadian Methodism 
would have remained an integral part of American Methodism, 
if in 1828, when it was deemed necessary for national reasons to 
separate into independent church organizations, there could have 
been created a Canadian Sectional Conference that would have 
given them control of Canadian matters. 

It is not a far dream to hope that should such a form of organ- 
ization as we have herein outlined become a reality ultimately 
Canadian Methodism would become an integral part of organic 
American Methodism again. And if Canadian Methodism, why 
not English Methodism and Irish Methodism, and Australian 
Methodism, until all the Wesleyans everywhere are united in one 
world church? It is only a question of our being broad enough 
in our sympathy and far-sighted enough in our statesmanship 
to create an organization that, while sufficiently centralized to 
unite all in a common bond for conncctional enterprises, would 
be sufficiently decentralized to give each section full control of 
its own affairs. If this seems a fancy of the imagination, then 
put me down as a dreamer of dreams, but remember that the 
good God often brings to pass stranger things than the boldest, 
imagination ever dared to dream. 



THE DYNAMIC OF A UNITED 
METHODISM 

G. W. CLINTON, D.D., 
Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church 

T. H. LEWIS, D.D., 
President of Western Maryland College, Protestant Methodist Church 

FRANK M. THOMAS, D.D., 
Louisville, Kentucky 



THE DYNAMIC OF A UNITED METHODISM 
G. W Clinton, D.D. 

Me. Peesident, Ladies and Gentlemen: A representative 
of British Methodism, writing on the church, has called atten- 
tion to the fact that, in many cases, common moral aims, such 
as temperance and thrift, are better advanced by separate action ; 
that competition, within reasonable limits, is a necessary check 
and healthy stimulus, and that it cannot be gainsaid that 
the ages of the church which were distinguished by outward 
unity were ages when the worst abuses and corruptions grew 
apace. I think that we are all willing to recognize the truth of 
this statement, and to concede that in the case of Methodism 
the divisions have not been without certain advantages. 

But while free to note this concession, we are persuaded that 
organic union will, on the whole, increase our usefulness and 
power in a very considerable degree — provided, however, that in 
our great zeal for union we do not come to depreciate the more 
essential and vital place of unity. There is a good deal of per- 
tinency in the remark of another scion of Wesleyan Methodism 
when he says, "Unity is good in itself, an end, an ideal; union 
is a means, not necessarily good in itself, but valuable only in 
proportion as it promotes the end. There may be unity without 
union." 

With this necessary safeguard, I, for one, am of the opinion 
that a united Methodism would be a real dynamic. I like that 
word dynamic and I think no more apposite word could have 
been used in the phrasing of the theme assigned me, although I 
feel that the assignment could have been made to some one 
better able to deal with it. I want to congratulate the assembly 
on the fact that they are to hear two distinguished and eminent 
representatives of the great Methodist family discuss this same 
subject, and I feel warranted in saying that all will be greatly 

449 



•I.-.0 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

enlightened because, of the messages these gentlemen shall pre- 
sent on this very interesting topic. 

The Dynamic of Numbers 

Mere numbers in themselves are not necessarily an element of 
strength, nor a sure guarantee of success; and I am sure that 
when I speak of the dynamic of numbers you will not misunder- 
stand me. Students of the Bible know only too well the power 
of a consecrated minority. A Gideon with his three hundred 
may put the hosts of Midian to flight; a Shamgar with his ox- 
goad may slay six hundred Philistines; a Samson with the jaw 
bone of an ass may kill his thousands; a Jonathan and his 
armor-bearer may strike terror in the hearts of their enemies 
on the heights of Michmash. And often in the arena of secular 
history has God proved the fallacy of Napoleon's boast that 
Providence is on the side of the biggest battalions. At Marathon 
the Greeks defeated a Persian army ten times as numerous; at 
Agincourt the English who defeated the French were outnum- 
bered three to one; in India, Wellesley, 

Against the myriads of Assaye 
Clashed with the fiery few, and won. 

And I am sure you can multiply these examples out of your own 

stores of knowledge. I know, as the greatest poet of my own 

race says, 

Minorities since time began 
Have shown the better side of man; 
And often in the lists of time 
One man has made a cause sublime. 

(Dunbar.) 

I know something of the temptation to lust after numbers; 
I know something of the disposition to become satisfied with 
quantity rather than quality. But when this is said it is irrefrag- 
ably true that the unification of the various Methodist bodies 
would be a dynamic from the viewpoint of sheer numbers. Sucli 
a dynamic, enlisted in the service of Christ and fighting against 
the forces of sin, could not have other than a most telling and 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 451 

far-reaching influence for good. You will pardon me at this 
point if I give you the approximate numbers as furnished by 
the latest statistics of Methodism. Quoting from these statistics 
as furnished by the United States Government for the year 1915, 
we learn that the various Methodist bodies report 41,529 min- 
isters, 61,523 churches and 7,125,069 communicants, exclusive 
of foreign missions. 

Besides this mighty host of the sons and daughters of Wesley 
there are thousands of young people in our various Sunday 
schools, Epworth Leagues, Christian Endeavor and junior mis- 
sionary societies who are not yet enrolled in our regular member- 
ship, but who are willing to be counted when the dynamic of a 
united Methodism shall be called into service to do battle for the 
King of kings and Lord of lords. 

Again, in a united Methodism, we would have 

The Dynamic of a Combined and Effective Witness 

Looked at from certain points of view, that is one function 
of the church — a function so grand that seraphic spirits who 
wait in the presence of the Almighty would blush at the un- 
wonted honor were it granted them, and yet so responsible that 
those same spirits would tremble were it thrust upon them. 
When Christ was about to return to his Father, he said to his 
followers who constituted, in some sense, the church, "Ye shall 
receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and ye 
shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and 
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." What was 
true of the church then is true now. It is called to the work of 
witnessing. 

Speaking for ourselves alone, we as Methodists are sure that 
we have had the sign and seal of the Spirit's presence and power 
among us throughout the years of our eventful history, and if 
this indwelling of the Spirit has meant anything to us it has 
meant qualification and equipment for the witness bearing. And 
I would not venture to say that we have not all, as separate 
branches, given ourselves to this work to the best of our ability. 



1.V3 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

But have not the divisions among us robbed our witnessing of its 
finest glory and supreme power? Did not Christ himself see this 
when he voiced that aspiration in his great high-priestly prayer: 
"That they all may be one ; even as thou, Father, art in me, and 
I in thee, that they also may be one in us"? This unity and 
union would be a compelling witness. 

The individual rays of the sun have each their own degree of 
energy and heat, but this very distribution and dissipation set 
limits to their energy and heat. On the other hand, if they be 
concentrated and brought to a focus by a sun -glass, they are 
powerful enough to start a fire that would soon develop into a 
conflagration that would set things ablaze. So it is with Method- 
ism. By division the energy of its witness is dissipated, weak- 
ened, and too often discordant, whereas by union it is tremen- 
dously increased and powerfully effective. 

Every successful pastor or Christian worker who has con- 
ducted an evangelistic campaign will testify as to the potency of 
combined witnessing when the forces that work with him are 
all united, equally zealous, filled and guided by the Spirit of 
power which wrought such wonders through the apostles when 
they presented a solid compact of combined spiritual energy 
on the day of Pentecost. May it not be said, and truthfully 
said, that one of the prime causes of the great success and far- 
reaching influence of Methodism in its earlier days was due to 
the unity that existed among its adherents and their combined 
and enthusiastic witnessing? If this can be accepted as a fact, 
who can doubt that a united Methodism, with its largely in- 
creased numbers and far better equipments, would prove such a 
dynamic that wonders would be wrought in our day and in the 
days to come such as have not been seen since the world began? 

The dynamic of a united Methodism is to be found lastly in 

A Larger and More Comprehensive Efficiency 

A football or baseball team does not achieve its finest successes 
by the brilliant plays of its individual stars here and there, but 
by well-regulated team work, by cooperation, by the massing. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 453 

the unity of effort in the direction of one common aim. The 
great captains of industry and princes of finance have recognized 
this power of union and have built up great corporations, trusts, 
and the like. Verily, "The children of this world are in their 
generation wiser than the children of light." By our divisions 
we have undoubtedly been guilty of great wastefulness of energy, 
opportunity, and resources and thereby have failed to reach the 
highest degree of efficiency. Union will make for the conserva- 
tion and economy of effort and resources. On the one hand, it 
will increase our usefulness and power; on the other it will 
decrease the waste. It will enable us to achieve the maximum of 
service at the minimum of cost. And it will do this in at least 
three or four particulars: (1) in the sphere of foreign mis- 
sions; (2) in the sphere of home missions; (3) in the work of 
education; and (4) in the case of the denominational problem 
in the smaller towns and in the rural communities. Besides the 
cumulative strength that would come from union, think of the 
saving that would accrue in the matter of energy, time, and 
resources. At present every branch of our Methodism, I take it, 
maintains its own mission boards, home and foreign, and its own 
educational department, all more or less fully manned and 
equipped. I think we are all coming not only to see the egregious 
folly of the waste involved in this, but also to feel the handicap 
which it imposes upon us. And I for one rejoice that this con- 
ference, if I interpret the spirit of it aright, is asking, among 
other things, the question, "To what purpose is this waste ?" 

On the mission field there is a good deal of overlapping and 
competition in our work, while there remaineth much land to 
be possessed, strategic points to be captured, unoccupied territory 
where restless millions wait, hungry and benighted, for the word 
of life. The dynamic of such a union as we have been consider- 
ing here would contribute much toward remedying this. More- 
over, our divisions in the mission field are not only confusing 
and bewildering to the heathen, but are inimical to our highest 
efficiency and greatest success. The time has surely come for us 
to present a solid and united front against the faiths of heathen- 



•l.-.-l A WORKIXC CONFERENCE ON THE 

doin. May 1 voice the ringing words of Dr. Chamberlain uttered 
years ago? "Fellow soldiers of Christ's army of conquest, the 
time for skirmishing, for isolated lighting, for sending discon- 
nected squads of soldiers into the same fields, independently, to 
do the same thing, has passed away. The time for locking arms, 
and shoulder to shoulder pressing to the final conquest, has 
come." 

Or here in the home land think of what a power a united 
Methodism would be in the fight against the forces of evil. No 
social wrong would thrive long in its presence, nor dare perpe- 
trate its dark and lawless deeds high-handedly or with impunity. 
How mighty here at home would be the appeal, the protest, the 
challenge, the opposition, the dynamic — the dynamite, if you 
please — of a united Methodist Church ! How wide and varied 
its usefulness, how efficient and comprehensive its service ! It 
would move triumphantly on its way, and the gates of hell could 
not prevail against it. 

A few days ago the editor of a certain paper requested me to 
give my opinion concerning the future of Christianity and the 
work of the church in answer to these questions: "After the war. 
what of Christianity?" and "What will be the outlook of the 
Christian church ?" I did not then nor do I now feel able to 
answer the questions put to me by this editor in a way that 
will satisfy either him or myself. One reason why I did not 
attempt to answer his questions is that J then regarded the end 
of the war as being too remote for me to advance an opinion on 
these important questions. 1 must say, however, these questions 
have caused me to think of the aftermath of this great and bloody 
war as it shall affect the future of the Christian church and her 
great work at home and abroad. 

Without attempting to answer the editor or to venture an 
opinion that will be a prophecy concerning this all-important 
matter, I wish to say that I believe the world will be in a better 
condition for the promotion of missions abroad after the great 
war is over than ever before in the history of the world. And 
when I say this I am not unmindful of the fact that the triumphs 



TJlsriOlsr OF AMERICAN METHODISM 455 

in mission fields within the last few years show that the church 
has entered upon the brightest era of missionary conquest, and 
that the nations which a short while ago seemed almost immune, 
and stubbornly opposed Christianity, have begun to awaken and 
respond to the appeals of Christianity as never before. I venture 
another statement. I believe that Cod wants the church — our 
Methodism, if you please — to strengthen the agencies and in- 
crease the means for carrying forward the work of missions after 
the cloud resulting from the titanic European struggle shall have 
cleared away. I believe we should make ready to inaugurate a 
new and more vigorous campaign and be ready to obey Jehovah's 
standing order to the church, "Go forward." 

Then there is the work of Christian education which needs the 
energy that a united Methodism would bring to bear upon it. 
In the convention of Methodism men at Columbus, last March, 
Dr. P. J. Maveety, of the Freedmen's Aid Society of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, said: "A part of the great home mis- 
sionary problem and quite intimately related to the salvation of 
Africa is the uplift and moral and spiritual development of ten 
millions of black people in the United States of America." In 
his summary of what has been done through the power of educa- 
tional facilities thus far provided, he has proved conclusively 
what can be done when fully adequate means and facilities shall 
be provided. I think I speak the truth when I say no part of 
our cosmopolitan citizenship stands in more need of Christian 
education, and no part will respond more readily to the appeals 
and soul-uplifting benefits of a Christian education, than the 
people of African descent in this country and those in Africa 
as well. 

The one great hope of the man of African descent in this 
country and the only sure hope of the African still in the father- 
land is a Christian education and the concomitant benefits 
which the schools that have been and that may be provided to 
train teachers, professional men and women, and leaders for this 
long disadvantaged people shall bring to them. 

Then there is the denominational problem in the small town 



I..C A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

and rural community, which, along with the other subjects to 
which 1 have called your attention, needs the dynamic of this 
larger elliciency, that it may work for the good of the people, 
for the welfare of the church, for the glory of God and the ad- 
vancement of the Kingdom. The hurtful, not to say baneful 
effects too often observed as a result of denominational conten- 
tion in small towns and sparsely settled rural communities are 
too well known to every one of us. We need and should have 
a united Methodism in order that such a state of things would 
be well-nigh impossible so far as contention and the building 
altar against altar among Methodists is concerned. 

In Breaking Down the Walls, a contribution to Methodist uni- 
fication, Bishop Earl Cranston uses these significant words : '"If 
historic facts and scriptural teaching afford a safe ground of 
judgment, it must be now apparent that by every consideration 
to which Christians should respond these two churches — the 
Methodist Episcopal and the Methodist Episcopal, South — are 
imperatively called upon to seek, and seek until they find, a basis 
of union honorable to both, and one pleasing to God as well, 
because prayerfully designed in its terms to secure the highest 
efficiency of our continental Methodism both at home and abroad. 
This is the rational and scriptural demand, and there is no other 
consistent course to follow. We must not only face the facts, but 
the facts as they are." To this statement as far as it goes, I say 
Amen, but it does not go far enough. 

If Methodism would attain unto her highest efficiency and 
through that highest and larger efficiency become a power that 
Avill touch and quicken all Christendom as she once did, and 
move men as no other religious body has ever moved them for 
good, she must seek, and seek until she finds, a basis of union 
honorable to all truly Methodist branches — a basis that will ha 
pleasing to God because prayed for and desired by our Redeemer 
and Saviour, the Son of God. This should be the ultimate aim 
of Methodism because of what it would mean in the great work 
of evangelization, a field in which Methodism no longer holds 
the place she once held. And why? I believe 1 it is due largely 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 457 

to the divisions and the unpleasant conditions which too often 
obtain because of these conditions. If you believe as I do about 
this matter, I am sure you see the necessity of our doing all 
within our power and seeking the help of God to help change 
this condition. 

And who will dare say that, if the various branches of Meth- 
odism shall come together in one grand united body, such a 
glorious achievement may not so influence all other Protestant 
bodies that there shall be a forward movement toward a closer 
and really potential federation that is so much needed in these 
perilous times? And who will say that much of the evils that 
now stalk abroad in our land and even threaten the stability of 
our government and tarnish the name of American Christianity 
may not be so frightened that they will not only cease to flour- 
ish, but soon take their flight to return no more forever ? Such 
things are within the domain of the possible and a united Meth- 
odism can and will do much to accomplish this great achieve- 
ment. 

But how and by whom shall this be brought about? I can 
give no better answer than this. By love such as is so beauti- 
fully described by the apostle to the Gentiles in the 13th Chapter 
of the first Epistle to the Corinthians : "Love suffereth long, and 
is kind; love envieth not, love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed 
up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not 
provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unright- 
eousness but rejoiceth with the truth ; beareth all things, belie v- 
eth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." (1 Cor. 
13. 4-7.) 

A united Methodism, bound together by such a cord as this, 
would be used by Jehovah to expand and strengthen the work 
at home. Such a Methodism would be prepared to enter the 
open doors that shall bid us follow in the wake of the world's 
greatest war and undertake the task of rehabilitation, feeling 
that success will surely crown our labors. Such a Methodism 
would be willing to take up the task anew of carrying the gospel 
into Africa and other parts of the world, with the assurance that 



•tr.s A WORK I NO CONFERENCE ON r THE 

in so doing it will be fulfilling the commission given by the great 
Head of the Church. 

For this let us pray, for this let us work, hoping and believing 
that it shall be accomplished. And as we work, and watch and 
pray, let us press onward singing as we go — 

The crest and crowning of all good, 

Life's crowning star, is brotherhood. 

For it will bring again to earth 

Her long lost poesy and mirth; 

Will send new light on every face, 

A kingly power upon the race. 

And till it come, we men are slaves, 

And travel downward to the graves. 

Come, clear the way then, clear the way. 

Blind kings and creeds have had their day. 

Break the dead branches from the path, 

Our hope is in the aftermath; 

Our hope is in heroic men 

Star-led to build the world again. 

To this event the ages ran: 

Make way for brotherhood, make way for man. 



UNION OF AMERlCxVN METHODISM 459 



THE DYNAMIC OF A UNITED METHODISM 

T. H. Lewis, D.D. 

Methodism may be said to be compounded of two words, 
meaning "power" and "liable to explode with a loud noise." 
Power, therefore, has been the distinguishing characteristic of 
Methodism from the beginning. It excited great contempt 
among its first contemporaries, and the opposition to it was 
expressed in most opprobrious terms; but these were, in reality, 
tributes of respect for a power its enemies did not understand, 
yet could not ignore. After a while the more kindly disposed 
observers began to speak of it as "Christianity in earnest," 
and it retained this reputation, both among its adherents and 
others, until the diffusion of wealth and education in its borders 
made it appear desirable to emphasize these as blessings. And 
so, without repudiating the old-time power, Methodists began 
to talk about the dynamic of culture, the dynamic of efficiency, 
the dynamic of progressive ideas, and so forth, not in the way 
of making a new kind of power, but refining it, so to speak, 
keeping it up to date, and demonstrating the right of Methodism 
to be included in the best circles of religious society. 

Now as to the dynamic of Mr. Wesley's Methodism, I presume 
nobody has any doubt or sense of mystery. No one would think 
of attributing it to any of those external and material advan- 
tages in which modern Methodism is so rich and he was so poor. 
Nor would it be attributed to culture, for although born in a 
university, it dealt almost wholly with people who had little or 
no learning, and with all as if they had none. It concerned 
itself with a small circle of ideas, and they had no dependence 
on learning. The great doctrinal trilogy of Methodism, salva- 
tion by faith, assurance of salvation by the witness of the Spirit, 
and Christian perfection, are not one of them dogmas, but 



■Ii;u A WOKKIXG CONFERENCE ON THE 

matters of experieiH e. And if we give the explanation of tills 
power that is usual anion g us, that it is the power of the Holv 
Spirit, we really explain nothing. The Holy Spirit works in so 
many ways and through such manifold ideas, emotions, and 
methods, that we leave the mystery as vague as we found it. 

What then was the special dynamic conferred upon Method- 
ists hy the Holy Spirit, which made them so mighty in pulling 
down strongholds? It was the love of God shed ahroad in their 
hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto them. 
Love was the secret of their power, as it is indeed of so manv 
other mysteries. Love is the secret of all theology, for, "God 
is love." Love is the secret of all ethics, for, "Love is the ful- 
filling of the law." It is the secret of revelation, for the law and 
the prophets hang upon its two commandments. Love is the 
secret of all ceremonial, for to love a is much more than all whole 
burnt-offerings and sacrifices." It is the inspiration of redemp- 
tion, for "God so loved the world," and it is the sublime explana- 
tion of Calvary, for, "He loved me and gave himself for me." 
And so, when John Wesley and his disciples were kindled by this 
passion, they scattered fire on the earth and started a blaze that 
nothing could quench or stop in its victorious progress. They 
had no miter nor sword, no purse nor prestige — they did not 
need them. For they had a compelling love, single towards God 
and embracing all men, which rendered all other means superflu- 
ous, which made all labor delight, all suffering joy, and even 
death a crown of rejoicing. They never heard of this word 
"dynamic," perhaps; but they knew the thing itself, they had 
the power, and under its impulse they moved to victory, the last- 
ing triumph of love over hate. 

Xow to comprehend the dynamic of a united Methodism we 
must first be sure of a few preliminary observations. The man 
who desires a union of the separated Methodist denominations 
must completely rid himself of the notion that this is a problem 
in statics which our wise men must figure out through the silent 
years until every possible contingency has been reduced to mathe- 
matical formula : or that it is a nuisc vclrbrc of ecclesiastical 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 461 

diplomacy to be handled only by trained specialists and in secret 
closets, success always meaning, to keep our side from giving 
and their side from taking too much; or that it is just a never- 
ending debate, a game of intellectual battledore and shuttlecock 
between Conference orators. Methodist union is a movement. 
I am not straining at metaphysics, but it is necessary to get a 
sound philosophy beneath any suggestions that are to be prac- 
tical and efficient. To think of union as something going on, 
rather than as a fixed fact with determinate times and places; 
as a fluid ideal rather than as a solid concept within definite 
metes and bounds, is to permit ourselves to study it instead of 
its difficulties and consequences; to approach it unselfishly and 
without prejudice is, I believe, to help on the movement instead 
of halting it at the custom-house of our preconceptions. 

Now a movement has its impulse, and strictly speaking it has 
nothing else. It produces problems, it meets obstructions, and 
there are many other external coincidents, but it lias its impulse 
alone. To many persons the externals of this movement seem 
entitled to first and greatest attention; they are so blatant that 
they impose on us with a fictitious importance. But the logical 
and final justification of any movement is not to be found in 
its externals of whatever sort, but in its impulse, as we ought 
not to be too proud to learn even at the feet of a Gamaliel, who 
fastened attention, you will remember, on the impulse, or as we 
may say, the dynamic, whether this counsel or work be of men 
or of God. 

The impulse of Methodist union is love; started, I devoutly 
believe, in the yearning solicitude of our Divine Lord for the 
union of all his disciples; and finding its propulsive occasion 
in a Methodism of separate, if not antagonistic members, deny- 
ing the very genius of Methodism, which is, properly speaking, 
a creed and an evangel and a rationale of love. The origin of 
Methodism, the power of its exponents from Wesley down, its 
sufferings and its triumphs, have their sole explanation in love. 
If Methodists do not love one another they are so much the less 
Methodists. If there could be a union accomplished among 



H\2 A \YOHKL\G CONFERENCE (L\ THE 

Methodists who still disliked one another, or were suspicious of 
one another, that union would be "of few days and full of 
trouble." This love is the one thing we should be thinking 
about and praying for and living in, whether we want union or 
not, "for love is of God, and he that loveth not is not of God." 
But woe to that Methodist who wants to grow in love and yet 
wants to remain separate from other Methodists. He is a man 
trying to ride at the same time two horses going in opposite 
directions. 

This is why we ought not to spend too much time and thought 
on the externals of union, which in themselves are worth just 
nothing at all, and which will be worse than worthless if they 
prevent us from getting at the heart of the matter, the sentiment 
itself with which all true union must begin, and without which it 
cannot too soon end. And we ought to write large over every 
proposition for Methodist union, that so far as we are concerned, 
it shall be a union for love or it shall not be at all. Let those 
who call this romantic make the most of it. I say Methodist 
union is a romance. Not in the sense some contemptuous critics 
would give it, but the real, the high romance; the fascinating 
story of the ideal, transcending the commonplace and soliciting 
the soul out of humdrum with apocalyptic visions; the heavenly 
dream, untainted by calculations of profit and loss, measuring 
its gain in heart beats, rejoicing not in statistics, but in love's 
victory over hate in human hearts, in the triumph of peace over 
strife in Christ's body; the knight-errantry of the Holy Ghost. 

It was in the same night he was betrayed, in the passion of 
Gethsemane, in the very ecstasy of love's sublime renunciation, 
that our blessed Lord saw the vision of a united church and 
prayed for its realization through all time. So, I am persuaded, 
it will be under the white heat of love's consuming flame that 
denominational prejudices will disappear and Methodists will 
be welded into one divine brotherhood. 

1 assume, however, that you will expect me to calculate the 
results of this dynamic rather than to analyze the dynamic 
itself which that union may be expected to generate. For as 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 463 

to the latter, to be true to the nature and traditions of Methodist 
history and experience, and true to the sole power that can bring 
union to pass, the dynamic which is to mold and energize united 
Methodism can't be anything less than love. And it can't be 
anything more, for there is nothing more. Love is the supreme 
dynamic power carried to its highest potency, power invincible in 
making its way, and immortal, reproducing itself in a majestic 
procession of consequences to bring increasing joy to the world 
and glory to God. 

I will limit the remainder of this paper to one of these con- 
sequences. United Methodism is bound to express itself first and 
most energetically in a crusade of evangelization, more fervent, 
more extended, and more persistent than any we have ever 
known. 

I presume no one would deny that the one great mission of 
Methodism from its beginning has been evangelization. When 
Wesley was driven out of the churches of England, and was com- 
manded not to make mention of his Lord, nor to speak any more 
in his name, there was in his heart as it were a burning fire 
shut up in his bones, and he could not contain himself. So, on 
his father's tomb, in the streets of the city, in the coal pits and 
open fields he stood and cried, "The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah 
is upon me ; because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings 
to the poor." Thus for more than fifty years he traversed the 
United Kingdom, searching out the miserable abodes of poverty 
and the habitations of cruelty, seeking the lost, the social out- 
casts, the Gentiles of Pharisaical England, to turn them from 
darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. His 
great soul, unhasting, unresting, delivered its message forty thou- 
sand times, reincarnated itself in a true apostolic succession of 
the many thousand Methodist evangelists of the succeeding cen- 
tury, and — dare I affirm his soul is still marching on. I con- 
fess to some hesitancy at this point. I hesitate to declare that 
Methodism is to-day the aggressive, conquering, tireless evangel- 
ism it once was. 

At the last Ecumenical Methodist Conference, the Kev. Simp- 



KM A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

son Johnson, of England, reporting for Methodism beyond the 
Atlantic, declared, "The plain fact remains that during the past 
rive years the number of our actual church members has been 
declining"; and the statistics given showed that for the past 
ten years the annual ingathering has been a trifle above 1 per 
cent, not enough to balance the losses. Doctor H. K. Carroll 
reported for this side that "the percentage of increase in the 
decade ending in 1890 was nearly 33^ per cent; in the next 
decade it was 28 per cent, but in the past ten years it was 15 
per cent." So that Methodism in its most favored localities is 
gaining annually at the rate of one and a half per cent. Mean- 
while population goes on increasing in this country at the annual 
rate of slightly more than two per cent. I have not brought 
these figures forward for argument. I am quite willing to let 
them stand without comment. The question you want me to 
answer is whether we may expect a united Methodism to change 
all this, to restore the old-time power to Methodists in turning 
men from sin, and to rehabilitate Methodism as one of the 
chosen and most highly honored agencies of the power of God 
unto salvation. This is a matter where mere speculation and 
guessing are dangerously near to boasting. I intend to avoid all 
this, and ask you to go along with me under the guidance of 
certainties. And the first certainty is : 

1. The decline in Methodist power has synchronized with the 
division among Methodist people. I do not say these are related 
as cause and effect; but there they stand, historically related at 
any rate. And those who think they can discover a thousand 
advantages accruing to Methodism because of its divisions, will 
never be able to prove that one of these advantages is an increase 
of evangelistic power. 

2. It is certain that our fathers deprecated divisions anions: 
Methodists, even in opinion, because they feared it might result 
in diminishing their power in evangelism. Almost the only 
excuse I have ever been able to frame for those who adopted the 
extreme measures against, the advocates for lav representation 
in 1S28 is this verv thintr, the fe;ir, which 1 have no doubt was 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 465 

honestly felt, that the discussion of this question would turn 
Methodists away from their one work of saving souls. 

3. It is certain that our divisions have raised among us ques- 
tions for debate and strife that have nothing to do with saving 
souls. We have been disputing, not over a doctrine of the Bible, 
nor even of the hymn book, but over political questions and 
minor matters of the discipline. We know that there is not 
and never was a single article of dispute among Methodists which 
would make the slightest difference in the salvation of any man's 
soul, however it was decided. But in remaining apart we must 
still give time and energy to defending separation and preaching 
Methodist "isms"; whereas if we were united the whole stress 
of Methodist life and power could be given to the dissemination of 
that life and power, and Methodism would become again, what it 
was under Wesley and Asbury, a great evangelistic propaganda. 

4. It is certain that such differences as have divided Meth- 
odists can't be argued away, nor abolished by law. The more 
they are stirred up and opposed, the longer they are in dying; 
and in fact after they die they stir men just the same, "E'en 
in their ashes live their wonted fires." They can only be 
dissipated in the warm sunshine of love, the expulsive power of 
a new affection. We Methodists have no theological convictions 
to compromise, no traditional and sentimental feelings to sur- 
render; we have nothing in the world but a quarrel to make up, 
and even boys in the street know that the only way to make up 
a quarrel is to forget it. Eeason, therefore, as well as religion 
urges us to cease talking about our differences and permit our- 
selves to love one another. I sometimes think if we could only 
have a general love feast instead of a General Conference to deal 
with this question, we might hope to see it consummated in our 
life time. Of course we can't have anything so revolutionary as 
that, I suppose. But might we not at least cease to emulate the 
pious faith of our Eoman Catholic exemplars in paying our devo- 
tions so persistently at the shrines of these sacred relics? And 
might we not so hope to purge our conscience from dead works 
and serve the living God ? 



•16(i A WOBKINCJ CONFKRFNCF O.N TJIIO 

o. Another certainty emerges out of the religious historv of 
the last thirty years in this country- It 1ms been a period of 
widespread and effective religious awakening. Beginning with 
Mr. Moody, we have had a succession of revivalists of many 
types and of varying qualities, but attended with results for 
the most part, that estimated by the number of people reached, 
must be confessed remarkable. Now the certainty, the outstand- 
ing fact connected with all these efforts, is that the success has 
been due, humanly speaking, to the union and organization of 
the Christian sentiment and effort of the communities visited. 
So well known is this, that our latest evangelist, Mr. Sunday, 
is as remarkable for his campaign preparations as for his results ; 
and in fact to many students of his methods his power is in his 
organization. 

Now consider what this means as a suggestion to a united 
Methodism. What Mr. Sunday labors for in a single community 
for months before he visits it, Methodists would have perma- 
nently as the regular and established manner in almost every com- 
munity, for, remember that the union and organization of the 
sentiment and effort of Methodists would mean the union and 
organization of one third of all the Protestants in this count r\. 
If one (tan chase a thousand by this uniting and organizing, who 
can estimate what seven millions could do under like advantages? 
I declare, when T think of the possibilities waiting at our door 
for this union to usher in, I can scarcely restrain my impatience 
at the pig-headedness with which we blunder about every door 
in our economy but the right one, already on the latch, and need- 
ing only a gentle pressure. 

6. Finally, it is certain that the love which will bring about 
a united Methodism can have but one legitimate and inevitable 
expression, and that is evangelization. For love will make its 
way As the trade winds and the gulf stream, heated at the 
equator, sweep in resistless tides to all the polar regions of the 
earth, so the heart, warmed under the direct, ravs of the Sun of 
Righteousness, must send out its impulses of love and effort in 
ceaseless sympathies to all the desolate and lost. It has always 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 467 

been so. Love brought Christ down from glory, even to the 
ignominious death of the cross, seeking to save the lost. Love 
sent out his disciples through cruel mockings and scourgings to 
carry the glad tidings to all the world. Love has been the 
inspiration of all the missionary efforts of His people, and must 
continue to be their only effective impulse, "for the love of 
Christ constraineth." "Love never faileth." "Many waters can- 
not quench love, neither can the floods drown it." It will make 
its way. Ajid do you think that once it has so far overcome the 
pride and prejudices and selfishness of separated Methodists as 
to melt them into one brotherhood, it will then subside and con- 
geal into stiff self-complacency ? They know nothing of love who 
can imagine such a thing. The divine certainty is that when our 
Methodist hearts are once "strangely warmed" at the equator of 
brotherly love the tides of evangelization will sweep onward to all 
the polar regions in the church and out of the church, with an 
impetus that nothing can resist, making streams to break out in 
the desert, mountains to flow down, and all the valleys to sing 
for joy. be sure we know enough about love to declare with 
certainty that a united Methodism will mean not only a coming 
together, but a great going together, two and two, before his face, 
into every city and place whither he himself would come. 

It seems to me that we separated Methodists are like voices 
in the wilderness, crying aloud, indeed, but alone. And as the 
Baptist, musing dejectedly on the seeming failure of all the long 
train of God's efforts to win men through the covenant of obe- 
dience and of law and of sacrifice, could only cry, "Repent"; 
so we are confronted by a world still lying in wickedness, not- 
withstanding our stern, logical, peremptory theology of the 
past, and our liberal, spineless, intellectual, ineffectual theology 
of the present, and our ethical revivals, and our moral reforms; 
men still in this Christian United States only one in three even 
nominally Christian. And what shall we cry? There are some 
Methodists (may my children remember that I was one!) who 
have caught a vision, even as John in his wilderness, of one com- 
ing over the Galilean hills, the Mediator of a new covenant, and 



•iiiS A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

his garments arc dyed, and lie is mighty to save, lor his name 
is Love. And we know that this is he who is mightier than 
repentance, than law, than sacrifice, and he shall accomplish 
what all have attempted in vain. And this is why we lift up our 
voices in glad anticipation and cry, "Prepare ye the way of Ijovc, 
all ye dominant and contending forces of the world. Make 
straight in the desert, all ye apostles of strife and separation, a 
highway for our God." For Love is on the march, and Love will 
find a way. I do not know how, I dare not say when, hut Love 
will find a way. He shall bring all our discordant voices into 
heavenly concord. He shall gather into one these scattered and 
bewildered sheep, that there may be one fold, one shepherd. His 
own word is, "I must," and what have we to do with difficulties ? 
"Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill 
shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and 
the rough places plain." And in Love shall the glory of the Lord 
be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of 
the Lord hath spoken it. Therefore, let all the house of Method- 
ism know assuredly that God hath made this same Love, whom 
ye have crucified by your divisions, both Lord and Christ, and 
unto him shall the gathering of the peoples be. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 469 



THE DYNAMIC OF A UNITED METHODISM 
Frank M. Thomas, D.D. 

The hour is late as men count lateness. But there are solemn 
moments in human history when no account should be kept with 
time. I recall the fact that on the eve of the battle of Blen- 
heim Marlborough "felt a deep and awful sense of his own re- 
sponsibility, as well as of the impending peril. He devoted a 
part of the night to prayer, and toward morning received the 
sacrament from the hands of his chaplain. He then took a short 
repose, and employed the remaining interval in concerting with 
Eugene the various arrangements for a battle which appeared 
to involve the fate of the Christian world." 

Between this hour and to-morrow evening this conference will 
determine whether it is possible to reunite Methodism on the 
American continent. Between to-morrow and the Ides of Mav 
Methodism must decide whether it will fulfill her manifest des- 
tiny as the most potent spiritual force in the western world or 
allow that high privilege to pass to others. In the time allotted 
to me I wish to defend this thesis. 

I may premise my argument by saying that the old static 
conception of life is passing away. All phenomena, whether 
material or psychic, are but manifestations of some form or 
synthesis of energy. Ecclesiastical forms are but expressions of 
the higher energies. Therefore we may expect to find them gov- 
erned by some of the fundamental laws which have controlled 
the rise of energy on this planet. 

Now the lower forms of life creep and crawl over each other 
until in one there arises a neural mass storing sufficient energy 
to raise it from the ground. Speaking scientifically we can 
measure the place of any given organism in the life scale by the 
completeness with which its entire periphery is related to and 



no A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

controlled by the central brain. The same test can be applied 
to ecclesiastical structures, provided that they are living organ- 
isms and not mere simulacra existing in a leaden and wooden 
conformity. And that ecclesiasticism which is sufficiently com- 
plex to store up energy, which is sufficiently united to wisely 
discharge that energy, that church stands at the head of all other 
churches. 

By these tests, which arise out of a sound logic of energy, 
where shall we place American Methodism? Judged by the 
expenditure of energy in missionary enterprises, by its vast edu- 
cational activities, it would seem to stand at the very head of 
of American churches. But we must not allow ourselves to be 
lulled to sleep by outward conditions. In the present large and 
mighty place filled by Methodism we take a just pride. We do 
not believe that any branch of American Methodism is in grave 
danger of dissolution. We believe that years of usefulness and 
power await them all. Nevertheless we do affirm that the primacy 
of Methodism in American life is swinging in the balance. Not 
because any other denomination seems to be outstripping us, but 
because we have learned from Scripture and from history that 
God will expend His power and count no cost in order to secure 
an adequate organism for the Holy Spirit. 

And an organism to express the essential unity that lies at 
the very heart of the Godhead must itself be one. There could 
have been no eternal procession of the Holy Spirit without the 
unity of the Father, Son, and Spirit. So too there can be no 
dynamic procession in time without a church that adumbrate* 
in its essential unity the Divine Unity within the veil. If in 
answer one cites the churches of the Reformation we reply that 
not one nor all of the Reformation churches supplied an ade- 
quate organism for the full manifestation of the Holy Spirit 
to a. torn and shattered world. I appreciate beyond words the 
intellectual and spiritual freedom with which they blessed the 
modern world, but if you will inquire deeply into the later rise 
of Methodism, you will see that the Spirit of Clod was still 
searching for an organism that would become a more perfect 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 471 

transmitter of life to a sinful world. One secret of its unparal- 
leled dynamic was its unity. Through the great heart of John 
Wesley to the utmost periphery pulsated the power of God. 

'Tis true that there were incipient divisions even then, but 
none sufficient to break the might of that great tidal wave pul- 
sating in from Eternity. To-day on the American continent we 
find this mighty organism broken into some seventeen different 
communions, and the sum total of their accessions each year, 
while larger than any other Protestant denomination, is less 
than 250,000 in a population of more than one hundred millions. 
The great itinerant wheel, whose every vibration once evoked 
the song of the redeemed, as a whole turns rather heavily on its 
axis. It still professes "to move" at the periphery, but more 
and more it is crystallizing at the center. Now, if we could 
be definitely assured that the increased weight at the center 
was due mostly to the growth of gray matter there our fears 
might be calmed ! But energy at the center, however potent, is 
not sufficient for a living organism. It must be able not only 
to stimulate and vitalize the remotest cell, but to discharge its 
accumulated energy in overcoming its environment. So that 
we find American Methodism facing a double danger. On the 
one hand, it is so divided that it cannot furnish an adequate 
organism for the full dynamic of the Holy Spirit, and on the 
other there is in each one of these communions that slow in- 
filtration of human nature and that tendency to crystallization 
which have marked the church through most of its history. 

Take for example the pastor, about whom gather the genetic 
energies of the Kingdom — the training of the young, the shep- 
herding of the flock, the saving of souls, the collecting of the 
sinews of war. Is our polity being fashioned so as to perpet- 
uate him in freshness and power? Are we not allowing con- 
gregations and Conferences to so shape his tasks that he is being 
denuded of spiritual energy? Have we not reversed the pro- 
cesses of nature, which guards with solicitous and tireless care 
the energy cell of the most insignificant organism. Can we 
expect the affusion of the Holy Ghost upon our people unless 



Vrt \ WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

we guard ami! stabilize the life oi' the man to whom is committed 
the sublime and awful task ol' energizing men and women 
with the pleroma of the Spirit? There is no task among men 
which requires a more constant expenditure of physical and 
mental and spiritual energy, yet if he grasps for breath the 
General Conference lays another burden on him. 

Big Boards to the right of him! 
Big Boards to the left of him! 
Laymen in front of him, 
Bishops behind him, 
Volleying and thundering! 
His not to make reply, 
His but to toil and sigh, 
While all the rest thunder. 

It may seem to some that I have gone astray from my subject. 
J am not unmindful of what Bishop Butler called the "limita- 
tions" of life. Yet being summoned here to point out the possi- 
bilities of a greater dynamic for American Methodism I would 
be untrue to my duty should I fail to point out one or two 
synapses which even the Spirit of God has difficulty in bridging. 
If we are merely to unite and make no effort to provide for the 
acquirement of energy at the very foundations of spiritual 
energy, then a united Methodism would be a greater hindrance 
to the heavenly dynamic. Its tendency toward crystallization 
would be greater, while its spiritual dynamic would be increas- 
ingly less. But it is because I believe with all my heart that it 
is possible to construct a reunited Methodism, free from present 
barriers to power- — a new organism for the Holy Spirit — I have 
longed and prayed for its realization. God is willing to help us. 

It has been my privilege to witness all the negotiations of the 
past lew years. To-night I can recall more than one hour when 
it seemed as if the joint commission had reached the parting of 
the ways, and as we stood there, perplexed and praying, there 
was stretched a scarred Hand from within the veil and we made 
another < lav's march toward the Promised Land. In Him at 
last is our only hope of reunion ! During recent weeks we have 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 473 

heard the jargon of men whose vision has been fixed not on 
Christ but on ecclesiastical goals, and ever and anon the voice 
of some good man blinded by the storms and bitterness of the 
past. But beyond these voices we can still see the gleaming 
dome of a united Methodism, like the radiance of the Holy 
Grail beckoning us onward toward the spiritual city of a 
redeemed humanity. 

And, my brethren in Christ, a united Methodism is this 
present world's only large and stable hope. Look abroad over 
this globe to-night. One half of humanity engaged in the most 
Titanic and devilish struggle for extermination that earth has 
witnessed ! In Europe the gates of hell have prevailed over the 
churches that call themselves by the name of Christ. They 
have been absolutely powerless to prevent or check the chaos 
convulsing that hemisphere. They have largely crystallized, 
their living dynamic has ebbed away until their energies have 
been largely spent in maintaining existence. In 1893 Mr. Glad- 
stone wrote to Lord Acland: "I am rather painfully impressed 
with the apprehension that the seen world is gaining upon the 
unseen. The vast expansion of its apparatus seems to have 
nothing to balance it. The church, which was the appointed 
instrument of the world's recovery, seems, taking all its branches 
together, rather unequal to its work." 

The old Europe is passing away in blood and ashes largely 
because of a divided and crystallized Christendom. And we who 
on this side of the Atlantic have been looking on so sadly might 
well turn our attention to America, with its increasing luxury, 
its frivolity, its mad rush after pleasure, its social unrest, its 
damnable politics, its unassimilated foreign element, its divided 
churches. He is deaf who does not hear the muttering of thunder 
in the air. The lack of religious homogeneity in American life 
affords lightning paths for the regressive energies that would 
rend the republic of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. If 
this sublime fabric, which has been and is to-day the world's 
only hope of constitutional freedom, is to be saved, then the 
great synthetic energies must move quickly and move together. 



474 A WORKING CONFERENCE OX THE 

These saving energies can no longer play hide-and-seek with 
each other while our cities groan with congestion, while cheap 
statesmen make our laws, and class antagonism is being fanned 
in every section of our land. A nation to survive must have 
political and religious unity, an organic frame, and a living 
spirit. 

We have political unity, and there is no section more loyal than 
the eleven Southern States which once struggled through gloom 
and darkness to form a new nation. But we must secure reli- 
gious unity, a spiritual dynamic that is felt with the same intel- 
lectual, emotional, and ethical intensity in every hamlet of our 
beloved country. Some approach to this may be made by a fed- 
erated Protestantism, but in the best of federations there are bar- 
riers to the passing of spiritual energy. The one substantial 
hope of saving America lies in the reunion of American Meth- 
odism. If properly constructed, it would not only provide an 
organism for the passing of a mighty dynamic to every part of 
this nation, but it would repair the breach of power made by our 
fathers in the years that are dead, and in some measure atone 
for that awful harvest of blood sown by the misunderstandings 
and bitterness of that bewildered day. Such a reunion would 
send a thrill of hope throughout Christendom. It would be 
one clear call to the world that despite the chaos in Europe life 
in Christ is stronger than death and hell. 

A united Methodism would generate a fresh intellectual 
dynamic. It would restate our present static theology in 
dynamic terms. Too much we have thought of God as sitting 
complacently in some far corner of the universe The con- 
ception of Christ is not that of a God who rests from his labors, 
but a deeper and truer conception of an unresting God. "My 
Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Some of the recent 
movements to inaugurate a new statement of our faith were 
perhaps premature, but a united Methodism would naturally 
and inevitably express its belief in dynamic terms. In so doing 
it would not depart one iota from the impregnable truths en- 
shrined in the Apostles' Creed, but it would make more real to 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 475 

the modern man the eternal energy lying behind that sublime 
statement of our faith. 

A united Methodism would inaugurate an ethical reforma- 
tion in the lives of our people. The intense pressure of such a 
dynamic organism would revitalize the feeble cells which in so 
many of our congregations intercept and paralyze the currents 
of Divine Life. Once more American Methodism would vibrate 
with spiritual intensity from the center to the remotest congre- 
gation. Dynamic waves would pass out from our churches into 
the vast seething social mass, so bewildered to-day, yet so intent 
on fashioning itself into unity and social health. This effect 
alone would compensate any branch of Methodism for the pangs 
of parturition, for the final hope of human society lies not in an 
improved heredity and environment, but in the possibility of 
some transforming current from the dynamic center of the 
cosmos. 

Upon a united Methodism there would come a fresh breathing, 
direct from the heart of the Holy Trinity. This blood-stained 
earth would witness a new Pentecost. Yea, verily do we believe 
that there would come upon many millions tongues of flame 
that would light this earth with something of the radiance that 
flashed in the face of the risen Lord. Instead of reporting an 
annual net gain of from one to two hundred thousand the slain 
of the Lord along our world-wide battle line would be as thick 
as the leaves of autumn. This earth would be bathed in the 
glory and beauty of an apocalyptic evangel. We should hear 
the hoof-beats of the spiritual horses bringing our Lord and 
his redemption angels toward the final conquest of the world. 
"Even so. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!" 

No lone prophet of the desert, clad in camel's hair, stands at 
the gates of Methodism, crying, "Prepare ye the way of the 
Lord! Make his paths straight." But the whole history of 
man as he has struggled with nature and with Satan cries, "Pre- 
pare !" The convulsed empires of Europe, in their very death- 
grapple, cry, "Prepare!" The restless and threatening surge 
of American life with every wave doth murmur, "Prepare !" 



470 A WOKKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Tliu vast hordes of Africa and Asia shout, "Prepare!" The 
angel watchers on the hattlements of light whisper, "Prepare !" 
And over all and through all the deep undertone of the Eternal 
Spirit is heard, "Prepare!" 

Shall we heed these warning voices? Shall we pen another 
golden page in the history of Christ's church — a history too 
often written in sordid characters and sometimes, alas ! in 
human blood? Shall we in this memorable year of 1916, a year 
that commemorates the passing of Francis Asbury into glory — 
shall we lay the foundations of what Bishop Alpheus Wilson has 
declared would be the greatest achievement of man in modern 
times? Shall we, putting aside all bitterness and suspicion, 
purified by prayer and sanctified by love — shall we with fear 
and trembling furnish a new organism for the full dynamic of 
the Holy Spirit? Shall we do a great deed that will in some 
measure ease the pain and quiet the ceaseless sobbing of this 
finite world, which has groaned in its travail from creation's 
morning until now? For the earnest expectation of the creation 
waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. Shall we disappoint 
that expectation and return to our task of setting up altar 
against altar? 

If so, sooner or later we shall face the wrath of the Lamb. So 
that at the last analysis it is a question of saving ourselves. I 
once heard an eye-witness describe the terrible storm which in 
1889 ravaged Samoa and for a few days held the attention of the 
civilized world. The war-ships of several nations went to their 
doom on the cruel reel's of that once peaceful harbor. But one 
vessel, the British gunboat — the Calliope, escaped destruction. 
This eye-witness was aboard the Calliope. He said that every 
man went to his post, the band stood on the deck and played 
"God Save the Queen," while below the engineers pushed the 
powerful engines to their full capacity. At first they made no 
headway, but at last they began to slowly forge ahead, and as 
the other vessels were drifting to death, the Calliope steamed 
out to safety in the open sea. So to-night it seems that I see in 
vision the various churches at anchor in this storm-swept harbor 



UNION" OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 477 

of time. We wonder how many, when the last dread chaos 
comes, will be able to put out to sea. It will be no light blow, 
for all the transforming energies of the cosmos will be loosened, 
the physical and social fabric will begin to quiver in the pangs 
of parturition, and faster than the fiery shells of battle the stars 
will begin to shoot from their orbits in the sidereal and civic 
worlds, "upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity, the 
roaring of the sea and the billows. " 

When the full fury of that storm begins to break, and one by 
one great ecclesiasticisms begin to drift toward the reefs of dis- 
solution, may it be given to a united Methodism, like a great 
spiritual battleship, bearing a redeemed company no man can 
number, her giant engines beating one stroke, manned by bishops, 
preachers, and laymen surcharged with the Holy Spirit — in 
that dread hour of earth's last agony may it be granted to 
American Methodism to present to the gaze of men and angels 
the sublime spectacle of a church united and triumphant over 
all the wild waves of the finite, breasting the cosmic chaos, lift- 
ing its hallelujahs above the roar of dissolving worlds, and 
making straight for the shining and peaceful shore of God's 
Infinite Love. 

Only the dynamic of a united Methodism, reinforced by the 
pleroma of the Holy Spirit, can enable us to overcome the dis- 
solving energies of time and land our many millions safely at 
the foot of that Throne on which sits our loving Saviour, our 
great Elder Brother, King of kings and Lord of lords. 



PLAN OF UNIFICATION PROPOSED 
BY THE JOINT COMMISSION 



PEOPOSED BASIS OF UNION 

1. We suggest, as a plan of reorganization, the merging of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant 
Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, into one church, 
to be known as the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, or 
the Methodist Church in America. 

2. We suggest that this church shall have throughout com- 
mon Articles of Faith, common conditions of membership, a 
common hymnal, a common catechism, and a common ritual. 

3. We suggest that the governing power of the reorganized 
church shall be vested in one General Conference and three or 
four Quadrennial Conferences, both General and Quadrennial 
Conferences to exercise their powers under constitutional pro- 
visions and restrictions, the General Conference to have full 
legislative power over all matters distinctively connectional, and 
the Quadrennial Conference to have full legislative power over 
distinctively local affairs. The following exception was made 
by the General Conference: However, we recommend that the 
colored membership of the various Methodist bodies be formed 
into an independent organization holding fraternal relations with 
the reorganized and united church. We suggest that the col- 
ored membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Meth- 
odist Protestant Church, and such organizations of colored 
Methodists as may enter into agreement with them may be con- 
stituted and recognized as one of the Quadrennial or Jurisdic- 
tional Conferences of the proposed reorganization. 

4. We suggest that the General Conference shall consist of 
two houses, each house to be composed of equal numbers of 
ministerial and lay delegates. The delegates in the first house 
shall be apportioned equally among the Quadrennial Confer- 
ences and elected under equitable rules to be provided therefor. 
The ministerial delegates in the second house shall be elected 

481 



482 A WORKING CONFERENCE 

by the ministerial members in the Annual Conferences, and the 
lay delegates by the laity within the Annual Conferences, under 
equitable rules to be provided therefor. Each Annual Conference 
shall have at least one ministerial and one lay delegate. The 
larger Conferences shall have one additional ministerial and 

one additional lay delegate for every ministerial members 

of the Conference, also an additional ministerial and lay dele- 
gate where there is an excess of two thirds of the fixed rate of 
representation. All legislation of the General Conference shall 
require the concurrent action of the two houses. 

5. We suggest that the Quadrennial Conferences shall be 
composed of an equal number of ministerial and lay delegates, to 
be chosen by the Annual Conferences within their several juris- 
dictions according to an equitable plan to be provided for. 

.6. We suggest that the Quadrennial Conferences shall fix the 
boundaries of the Annual Conferences within their respective 
jurisdictions, and that the Annual Conferences shall be composed 
of all traveling preachers in full connection therewith and one 
lay representative from each pastoral charge. 

7. We suggest that the Quadrennial Conferences shall name 
the bishops from their several jurisdictions, the same to be con- 
firmed by the first house of the General Conference. 

8. We suggest that neither the General Conference nor any 
of the Quadrennial Conferences be invested with final authority 
to interpret the constitutionality of its own actions. 



EXTEMPORANEOUS DISCUSSIONS 



OPENING ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT HARRIS 

It is my pleasure to extend to you, in the first place, members 
of this Conference, a very cordial welcome in behalf of the 
University, and of Harris Hall, and the John Richard Lindgren 
Foundation. We are called together under the auspices of the 
committee of administration of the John Richard Lindgren 
Foundation. John R. Lindgren was for many years a trustee 
of Northwestern University and for a time its treasurer. He 
was a member of this first Methodist Episcopal Church, and 
shortly before his death he put into the hands of the trustees 
of the university a fund for the promotion of international peace 
and interdenominational harmony. On one occasion I asked 
him why he had assigned such a title to his fund, and he replied 
that he had the expectation that international peace would some 
day be attained. If there was any implication in regard to the 
second proposition, we trust this meeting may help prove that he 
was wrong. Mr. Lindgren was an eminently friendly man, and 
the provisions of the foundation were quite in keeping with his 
character. 

The administration of the foundation was put into the hands 
of a committee which is not under the control of the university 
trustees. The trustees hold the funds, but they are to be 
expended by a committee of which the late Doctor Little was 
the first chairman. The names of that committee you find in 
the program. 

For some years the committee confined its activities to some 
humble but we trust useful efforts to further the cause of inter- 
national peace. This year we have devoted our activities to the 
second proposition, and there were reasons why we chose to do 
it. The chief object was the recent action of the Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church itself. We planned for a work- 
ing conference. That is, there has been no attempt to appeal 

485 



4S(i A WORKING CONFERENCE OX THE 

to the public but to gather together a body of men who might 
speak with authority, chiefly with the authority of scholarship. 
It is not our expectation, we will admit, to find the solution 
for the difficulties at hand, but looking forward to the end of 
the road, to chart it thoroughly for those upon whom will fall 
that clear and distinctive duty of using what we may contribute 
to their help. 

And you will notice the committee has called to its aid an 
advisory committee whose names are also printed in the program, 
and on behalf of the committee of administration, 1 take great 
pleasure in recognizing very generously that the advisory com- 
mittee has carried the greater part of the burden of making the 
plans. And I wish to mention by name Doctor Stuart, to whom 
credit is due for the plan of the program. If you have read it 
through, you will, I trust, see we have attempted to make a sym- 
metrical program which will present in order the facts that 
may be most useful to the various parties who are to take up, we 
hope, not very far in the future, in a serious way, the problem 
of united Methodism of the United States — united in bonds of 
sympathy and we trust to be united into a still completer union. 



JOIINK. LINDGREN 
A Personal Tribute by William F. McDowell 

Mr. Chairman and my very dear friends: My own part 
in this evening service is very brief, but from my point of view 
very important. 1 rise simply to speak a word of commendation 
and appreciation of the gift of that good man whose early death 
we continue to mourn, our friend and brother Mr. John K. 
Lindgren, and a word of like appreciation for the gifted and 
gracious woman who so fully shares that purpose which he had 
in his mind in the establishment of this foundation. 

That any man in the world should seek to bring peace to 
the world is to his credit. That one should set in operation large 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 487 

forces, permanent forces, to bring peace in a commanding way 
is vastly to his credit. And I rise simply to express what I am 
sure is in the hearts of the men who have been here these two 
days in saying these words of appreciation of the foundation 
upon which we have met. The memory of Mr. John Richard 
Lindgren is made more beautiful to us by its tender associations 
with these wonderful words of our own Master, "Blessed are the 
peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." 



THE ANTICIPATED VALUE OF THE CONFERENCE 

Bishop Cranston 

Mr. Chairman, somebody must say the first word. I want 
to express my very great satisfaction with the action of the 
brethren who have charge of the foundation which affords us the 
opportunity of coming together in such a convention as this. 

I was saying to Dr. Stuart a moment ago that I thought he 
had been directed to the most judicious beginning of the realiza- 
tion of the founder of the Lindgren Foundation. And from 
what I have heard since I came in here this morning, being a 
little late, it seems to me to give promise of a very delightful as 
well as profitable discussion. It is to be expected, of course, 
that every man who is here from the several churches will be at 
his best temperamentally, rather than politically or otherwise; 
and I hope in the spirit of the men who have met and wrestled 
with these difficulties face to face in similar conventions as this, 
who have therefore had a better opportunity of testing each 
other's Christian patience, of determining each other's Chris- 
tian sincerity, and of coming to a somewhat just estimate of the 
possibilities involved in all these discussions and approaches with 
reference to the future. It has taken the commission on federa- 
tion about ten years to come to where I hope this convention 
may be on Thursday night. 



488 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Bishop Hendiux 

I want to congratulate the foundation as well as the com- 
mission immediately charged with this program on the very 
happy administration oi' the trust in the interest of Christian 
unity. I wish that the whole Methodist world, especially the 
Methodisms of America, could find this hall a very ''ear of 
Dionysius" that would convey both the letter and the spirit of 
this hour. I am thinking of seventy-two years ago, more than 
two generations, when the bisection of American Methodism took 
place, when the mighty men of Methodism faced inevitable 
conditions that seemed to them to require that henceforth we 
should become two bands. 

Especially does my mind revert to Stephen Olin, perhaps the 
greatest Methodist preacher whom God has given to our con- 
tinent. Born in Vermont, converted in the South, where he 
gave his earlier ministry as a preacher and an educator, his 
heart full of love for his brethren and associates of the South, it 
was the rending of his own heart in twain when Methodism 
divided. It is well known that he declared on the floor of the 
General Conference that he did not see how either side could 
yield its convictions and that the division seemed inevitable, 
however each side might deplore it. 

It was the separation of Paul and Barnabas, the two closest 
friends, when each retained warm personal affection for the other 
while they differed as to their line of work, but God was to send 
forth two men in different regions in place of one. God has 
often used the differences of men for the extension of his work. 
The epoch of 181 1 was marked by such differences as when 
Chalmers led out the four hundred in Edinburgh who became 
the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland. A year 
later the great Baptist Convention in this country became two 
and have so continued, following the bisection of American 
Methodism by a year. We well know the unsettled questions in 
our national affairs that led to the war between the States when 
despite the patriotic pleas for national unity the differences were 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 489 

too great to be settled without war. The unsettled questions 
left us by the noble men who gave us the Constitution of the 
United States passed beyond the era of discussion to that of war. 
But both the church and the nation have grown wiser in two 
generations. There is such a thing as loyalty to the past that 
becomes disloyalty to the future. If our fathers did what 
they deemed right under the circumstances, let us, their chil- 
dren, do our duty as we see it now under our existing circum- 
stances. 

Among my autograph treasures are some pathetic letters from 
Dr. Olin to Bishop J. 0. Andrew, his spiritual father and warm 
personal friend, that tell how his great heart was stirred by the 
division of the church. Full of ardent affection, despite all that 
has taken place, they beg for charity and continued love and 
unbroken friendship. Let us catch that spirit in our relations. 
I have letters begging that the whole Methodist world be called 
to prayer for God's guidance at this critical time as we seek to 
see eye to eye, and I shall hope at an opportune time during 
this conference to ask that such a call be made. We dare not 
seek organic union unless it be the will of God. But we dare 
not resist it when we hear our Lord's intercessory prayer that we 
may all be one, that the world may believe that the Father has 
sent him. Only a Divine Christ can bring our wayward hu- 
manity together and to God. 

Peesident T. H. Lewis 

I have just this to say. I have been greatly impressed this 
morning by the historical setting forth of the separation. I 
confess that I have been afraid of the history. I have urged 
people to stop thinking about the history. I have thought it was 
in its very nature divided, that it was a useless recollection, and 
that while we might be loyal to the past we ought not to fall 
down and worship it. But I have been remarkably pleased this 
morning to hear the paper read by Professor Faulkner, and 
I dare say I am within the limits when I assert that the produc- 



4«>o A WORKING CONFFKFNCF ON TI1F 

(ion oJ" such a paper would have been impossible! twenty years 
ago, or perhaps ten years ago. 

For my own part and my own church, I say this, that the 
chief business, it seems to me as 1 now review it, of our editors 
for fifty years has been to correct the statements of the historians 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and to present the various 
omissions they have made in failing to give honor where we 
thought honor was due. I felt a glow of real satisfaction as I 
listened to the setting forth, from that point of view, of the 
church, and the causes of division of 1828. And I have a real 
joy in declaring this morning that it seems to me that we enjoy 
a peculiarly favorable position in regard to the membership of 
this separate Methodism. There is nothing which we contended 
for that the generations have not vindicated. All we have to 
do is to stand still and let you come up to the flag. I rejoice so 
much to think that we can read history, after all, in perfect 
peace of mind and with a glow of satisfaction. 

I want, if I may venture, just to make a slight correction in 
one of the suggestions in Dr. Faulkner's paper. The "indem- 
nifying resolution" has been passed. That splendid deliverance 
of the General Conference in Baltimore in 1898 sent a thrill of 
great joy to the hearts of Methodist Protestants when the Con- 
ference united in saying that these men of 1828 were men with- 
out a single reflection upon their personal efficiency or theolog- 
ical character, and so we might say the indemnifying resolution 
has already been passed. 

Now the reflections that come to-day to me will perhaps he 
common to you all, that if the history is safe and innocuous, 
why should we not venture upon the future which is far easier 
traveling? Well, of course I am ready. I have not so much 
to promise as I once thought I had, and 1 am not sure that I 
represent the Methodist Protestant Church here this morning. 
I represent myself, for I have been asked to come here, 1 supple. 
as an individual, but at any rale what 1 say here now 1 am miiv 
does represent a large element of my brethren in the chuivh I 
belong to. 1 don't know anything thai seems lo them more 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 491 

easy and more righteous, and I will add for myself more certain 
than the perfect union of Methodist people. 

Bishop McDowell 

I simply rise for the purpose of suggesting that I fancy we 
are all of us just a little reluctant at this particular stage of the 
proceedings to engage in discussion and are a good deal more 
anxious for a minute of prayer for God's blessing upon what 
has been said, and upon our spirits, that we may receive what has 
been said; and for a moment of profitable personal fellowship 
that we may acquaint ourselves with one another before we begin 
or go farther into the business of this meeting. 

I think, therefore, I will venture to suggest that after a couple 
of prayers have been offered we take a recess until the hour set 
for convening this afternoon, and that the moments between this 
and the time we are called to luncheon, we especially devote to 
the meeting of one another, that we may know one another better 
before we begin our work. You will remember that President 
Harris said concerning Mr. Lindgren, whose name we always 
speak with emotion here, that he was a preeminently friendly 
man, and it would be in accordance with his mind, and quite in 
accordance with ours, that we should begin, continue, and end 
our conference together in that spirit of friendliness which 
belongs to the men who are friends of God. 



METHODIST UNION AND NATIONAL WELFARE 

President A. W- Harris 

I wish to call attention, in a word, to the relation which 
church union bears to our national welfare. I use the words 
"national welfare" in the direct sense as opposed to church wel- 
fare, for though church and state are properly separated in the 
United States, nevertheless, they are closely parallel and are 
affected by the same causes and react the one upon the other. 



W A WOKKINC CONFERENCE ON THE 

Our form of government, combining unity of the whole with 
local autonomy, is particularly interesting at this time when the 
great war has set men to discussing the possibility of maintain- 
ing peace by the establishment of a United States of the World 
modeled or at least suggested by the American Union. Our 
government is the most successful experiment of its kind which 
history records. Here is a group of limited sovereignties, similar 
in the essentials of race and language and ideals — all of which 
tend to draw them together — but scattered over a wide area and 
possessed of many economic and other interests that tend to 
throw them apart. The American Constitution has welded the 
States together, but notwithstanding all the advantages of our 
situation the Union has not succeeded in preventing war. When 
a great economic interest became critical the same cause that 
led to the war between the States caused the break in the Meth- 
odist Church, only many years earlier, and in due time it brought 
about the disruption of our churches. The division of the 
churches foreshadowed the division of the nation and the union 
of the nation will not be perfect until the union of the churches 
is accomplished. 

Dr. Lee has said that if the economic conditions of the North 
and South had been reversed, the attitude of the .North and 
South on the issues of separation would also have been reversed. 
Our history seems to justify this opinion, which I believe to Ik- 
a correct one; and yet the conclusion drawn from it must not be 
too wide. Environment and interest are not the only forces at 
work. Inheritance is often equally effective. A union long 
maintained and a union reestablished will grow more and more 
powerful as they grow older. In the nation we have restored 
union by the arbitrament of the sword, and when by the sweet 
reasonableness of love we have restored the union of the churche< 
then we shall have completed our oneness as a people and shall 
have perfected an example of peace for the whole world. Can 
a nation made up as this nation is made up prevent war? If 
so, then there may be some basis for hoping that the same prin- 
ciple may work in international affairs with a fair measure of 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 493 

success ; but if within the States the churches, which are suscep- 
tible to religious and reasonable considerations only, cannot be 
brought together, what hope is there for a union of nations to 
which we may not apply the persuasion of force that brought 
our States together but only those that affect the churches? 
Local considerations, touching as they do every-day and imme- 
diate interests, tend to obscure these broader matters that affect 
the interests of the whole nation, and it is one of the great argu- 
ments for the existence of denominations that since their bound- 
aries do not coincide with political boundaries, but stretch from 
North to South and from East to West, they counteract the 
divisive influence of State divisions, so that state and church 
are the warp and woof of which our national unity is woven. 
It would be a great thing for these United States of America 
if by a united Methodist Church, a united Presbyterian Church, 
a united Baptist Church, the East and West, the South and 
North, could be tied up together. Then while preserving the 
individuality of every section, we hope to hear less and less of 
hyphenated Methodists — Northern-Methodists and Southern- 
Methodists; hyphenated Presbyterians and Baptists; and of 
hyphenated Americans — the American of the South, the Ameri- 
can of New England, and the American of the West. 



SECTIONAL CHAEACTEEISTICS 

Dk. Thomas Nicholson 

Mr. Chairman: I was vividly reminded this morning while 
listening to Dr. Chown of the fact that I had lived in Canada 
in the early days when we had there a divided Methodism. I 
was brought up as a boy in that atmosphere and I had my first 
Methodist membership in one of those divided Canadian sections. 
I think that the feeling, the sectional feeling, the sectarian feel- 
ing, in the branch of Methodism of which I was a member, and 
that the conversations I heard in my own home — where my 



•1!U A WORKINli CO.XFHRKNCH ON TIIK 

father was a very ardent Methodist, rabidly loyal to his own 
branch and a class-leader in the church — would just if v me iu 
saying that the intensity of the feeling between the respective 
Methodist bodies at that time exceeded in intensity the feeling 
we have sometimes heard, though I hope not sanctioned, be- 
tween Protestantism and Catholicism in certain sections of the 
country. Now I have lived to see what I had supposed in that 
day was almost an impossibility become a glorious reality in 
the matter of the reunion which Dr. Chown has outlined before 
us this morning. So I am prepared to advocate and support this 
other union. I do not believe, though I think the conditions 
are different, that the difficulties in the way of the union of 
the three churches which we are discussing here are any greater 
than the difficulties in the way of that Canadian union. I think 
the beneficial results of such a united church as we here propose 
would exceed the beneficial results which have been obtained bv 
the Canadian union for the Canadian church. So much for 
that. 

Now my second point is this: There are serious difficulties, 
genuine differences of judgment and opinion. There is no use 
concealing the fact. The spirit here is fine. This group of men 
evidently almost unanimously desire union and are ready to 
make concessions to secure it. But we must not shut our eyes 
to the very great difficulties and to the fact that there must be 
concessions, and that no union can possibly be permanent until it 
has really solved the difficult problems. As I see it, this is an 
exceedingly able paper Mr. Crawford has put before us thi- 
morning. It is tactful, but it is frank. I think we might just 
as well face the situation. If we are to understand that a plan 
is to be put before the (General Conference of the Methodist Kpi- 
copal Church, which, when it was originated (as I understand 
it by the confessions of the commission originating it) was only 
intended to be tentative and only proposed to blaze the way; and 
if, with the conditions of free speech and free discussion which 
we prize in this country, with the differences which Mr. Craw- 
ford has so ably outlined, we are to understand that this par- 



UNION" OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 495 

ticular paper and this particular plan must be put before the 
General Conference at Saratoga Springs, with the statement 
hinted at by somebody here this morning that we are to vote that 
or nothing, then I do not think we shall get anywhere. It has 
not gone into detail. It is manifestly a tentative statement. It 
has failed to grapple with many of the problems which this dis- 
cussion is bringing out. I repeat, it has not really, in the spirit 
of this conference and in the spirit of this wide discussion, faced 
all the problems nor a tithe of the problems. 

Now, brethren, I do not believe these problems to be unsolv- 
able. I will speak to you a little later on the problem as it 
appears from the interests of the benevolent boards. These 
represent one of the great interests, because our Christianity in 
this day is more and more becoming institutional, and Chris- 
tianity in this country, if it is to succeed, must become increas- 
ingly institutional. We are in an age of institutions. I have 
become more and more impressed, as I have deeply studied the 
situation, that there is no serious difficulty in the way of union 
from the angle of these great institutional boards. I shall put on 
the screen on Thursday morning, in a series of lantern slides, 
the facts. These will enable you to grasp the significance through 
the eye as well as through the ear. The study has deeply 
impressed me that the institutions which represent the half bil- 
lion of property referred to by Judge Walton are so related to 
each other that there is practically no serious difficulty in dove- 
tailing them. There are difficulties, of course, but none which 
are insuperable, and really none which are very serious. That 
ought to greatly encourage us in our further discussions. 

The point is this, brethren : We are in a quest. We have a 
beautiful spirit here to-day. If the General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church goes down to Saratoga Springs, sits 
down alone and threshes out this problem, as it will, without con- 
sidering in some detail the very grave difficulties which these 
papers and discussions show we must meet, I fear we shall simply 
postpone the day of getting together almost indefinitely. Now, 
I know my church. I have been from the Atlantic to the Pacific 



49G A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

and from Minnesota to the Gulf, and I believe that nearly every 
member, representing practically every Methodist Episcopal 
church to-day, will testify that the Methodist Episcopal Church 
is tremendously in earnest about this question of unity. It is 
the consensus of opinion that we want union, and I believe this 
is the time to get union. But if we are to get it, we must go 
down to Saratoga Springs facing all the problems, knowing what 
the other men think, and what the other men are likely to con- 
cede — indeed, I think we ought to have a very clear notion of 
what, in all fairness to all parties, they ought to be asked to 
concede, and we ought to be prepared to make our full share 
of the concessions. If we do not do something of that sort, we 
will not get anywhere and we will lose the spirit of the time. If 
we do that, I believe union may be consummated within the next 
five years. The time is ripe. Dr. Lee is right when he says 
the temperature is high. I have a feeling that if we do not get 
this union in the next four or five years, it may be postponed 
twenty-five or fifty years. Bishop Hendrix, in my judgment, 
was exactly right when he said, this is a time above all other 
times for intercession. It is a time for the leadership of God. 
And I believe that God was in the thoughts and was moving 
upon the mind of the committee having charge of this Lindgren 
Fund when it brought us together here, the representatives of 
three churches, or perhaps of the four or five churches con- 
cerned. 

I hope we may follow the lead that Mr. Crawford has sot; 
that we will not dodge the real questions and the real difficulties; 
or that, because there are real difficulties, we shall blanch. 
Rather, let us sit down together in all seriousness of heart, with 
that fine conception of love and fellowship which we have here 
today, going to our task in the spirit of deepest intercession, 
remembering that if, with all the opportunity we have now, we 
really fail to solve our problems and to bring these churches to- 
gether, God will hold us responsible for the results for genera- 
tions to come. It is a crisis day in Methodism. It is in some 
sense a crisis in American history. Cod help us to discern the 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 497 

mind and will of the Master, and, discerning it, to go and do 
what He bids. 

Bishop Cbanston 

Mr. Chairman, I very heartily commend the spirit of both these 
papers. There is truth in both of them, and between the two we 
may find the sentiment of this entire body, and perhaps of the 
two churches. 

I have come to a point where I confess the word sectionalism 
grates upon my ear, but more upon my soul. Pernicious section- 
alism exists to-day chiefly in the minds of men who ha\e per- 
sonal interest in propagating the sectional spirit. Sectionalism 
has no legitimate place in Methodism. True religion to-clay 
in the North or South is exactly the same. Sectionalism has 
no right or part in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, 
which are its handbook. The spirit of sectionalism has no war- 
rant for standing in the way of a devout application of God's 
Word to the problem of the unification of these Methodist 
churches. These propositions will hardly be controverted. 

Now it seems pertinent to recall that almost every Northern 
man who went South in the days of slavery, because his interests 
required residence in the South, acquired wealth more rapidly 
than the average Southerner. In every such case it was com- 
mercial interest that determined his preference, and shaped his 
judgment of current questions. If sectionalism, as embodied in 
the average Methodist, persists almost as marvelously as do the 
racial traits of the Jewish people, it is traceable to the fact 
brought out so definitely by Dr. Lee. More than climate do 
financial and social considerations solidify community sentiment. 
It was its industrial system that crystallized Southern thought. 
Under the conditions there could have been no other outcome. 
If you go into the coal and iron regions of Pennsylvania, you 
will find sentiment on all related questions solidified around 
this chief commercial interest. As it is the mental habit of any 
specialist to relate all facts to his specialty, so will the thinking 
of any people whose living is derived mainly from one source 



1!>8 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

take its coloring from that dominating fact. But slavery is now 
a thing of the past. Politicians realize this and are fast out- 
growing sectionalism. 

There is still a great division separating Romanism and Prot- 
estantism. But when it comes to secular affairs we expect the 
same kind of justice for one man as for another from the 
supreme court composed of hoth faiths. Why can't these 
churches recognize that the day of a divisive sectionalism is past, 
and that it is not for any Christian church to recall that dav? 
We ought by all means to come to our task as if to an original 
problem, and unembarrassed by a dead issue — as if now for the 
first time aplying the principles of our supreme law to the ques- 
tions of to-day, heeding only the words of Jesus Christ, that we 
go forward and not backward. This would be in line with the 
progressive spirit of our religion as applied to the needs of our 
own time. 

Bishop Hendrix 

All of us recall the words of Henderson when he welcomed 
Alexander to England, "Saxon, Dane, Norman, Briton, all arc 
we." And that is what has made the British people, of whom 
we are so proud to-day. That has given them their strength. 
like the mingling of metals together, mixing the strongest 
possible metal by combination of metals, not one single metal. I 
have marveled as I look into the future, my brethren, as to what 
God may mean in America by combining so many bloods and so 
many types of nationalities. The most famous race in the world, 
the old Roman, is coming here to work in our trenches. The 
Creek, that made Marathon famous, is here in our land. The 
best of the Teutons, the Swedes, the Norwegians that tell us 
about the grand days of Adolphus arc here. We ;ire getting to- 
gether in our land a marvelous combination of elements for the 
great day of the future, and as these great nations come together, 
I think Cod is getting ready for the great church of the future, 
combining all the best elements. I do not think, therefore, that 
the different influences involved in sectionalism are necessarily 



UNION OF AMEKICAN METHODISM 499 

calculated to disparage this great movement, but rather to help 
it if they could be properly amalgamated, and merged into the 
great Methodist forces God has raised up for the evangelization 
of the world. 

Who of us does not recognize the mixed blood in his veins? 
The Huguenot blood flows in these veins mingled with the 
Scotch-Irish and Teutonic. This gives us a great deal of trouble 
sometimes, but I thank God they are there. God made me that 
way. I think of my own ecclesiastical history. My grandpar- 
ents were Protestant Methodists, my own immediate parents 
were Southern Methodists. I was a Northern Methodist by 
choice, in my educational days. I received my first license to 
preach in the North and there began my work as a preacher 
which was later continued in the Church South. Intermingling 
with these strains was a period when I attended a Baptist Sunday 
school, and then there were a couple of old ladies who were very 
anxious to get the children into the Episcopal Sunday school, 
and having a little leisure I attended there a while. In the days 
of my theological study, I took my course in the Union Theolog- 
ical Seminary at New York. After all this I still thank God for 
the Christian religion. All these various elements have strength- 
ened me and given me a catholicity of spirit in which I rejoice. 

I feel more at home sometimes with our Presbyterian brethren 
than in company with our Methodist brethren, and I think some- 
times our Presbyterian brethren feel more at home with our 
Methodist brethren. I sometimes would rather cross the Atlantic 
Ocean with our Presbyterian brethren than with good Methodist 
brethren. 

I think God is leading us, if we see our convictions, to be the 
future established church of America, the church that is to com- 
bine in itself those loving, gracious elements of strength, that 
make for great power in God's own hands. I read and re-read, 
with interest thrills to my heart's core, John Fisk's story of our 
American nation when it seemed impossible to make a union. 
That was an important hour in history when we were gathered 
together in Constitutional Convention; when we would not as- 



500 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

semble to sign the Constitution; when the great heart of Wash- 
ington, who presided over the Convention, despaired because 
they would not eome together. And when the Constitution was 
passed and sent out for confirmation, you remember with what 
difficulty the necessary number of States adopted those resolu- 
tions that made us a nation under the Constitution ; how doubt- 
ful the issue seemed to be for a while ; how great New York hung 
in the balance, and how only our great Hamilton made possible 
the affirmative vote; and you remember how, even after it was 
adopted, it seemed impossible of realization when one of the 
supreme court judges of Rhode Island was disposed to look 
with favor upon those who rebelled against it. All those things, 
you remember, but, thank God, when these conflicting forces 
were brought together, they made the strongest nation on the 
face of the earth. Gladstone well said it was an act of the 
Supreme Spirit of God upon the intellects of men to give birth 
to that American Constitution that should bring together these 
diverse elements. 

Oh, God, give us power to bring together out of these appar- 
ently conflicting elements, a baptism of the Holy Spirit, that 
like a great white heat will weld these divers metals into one, one 
great church, welded together, north, south, east and west, and 
make one mighty structure for the advancement of his kingdom 
for all time to come. 

President Edwin A. Schell 

Will you pardon me for making a remark, rather personal to 
Bishop Cranston, and a sort of confession too. I live in a sum- 
mer colony where the late Bishop Galloway, fresh in my memory, 
came year after year. And we had Bishop Cranston, just coming 
to the ground and Bishop Cranston, as some of you know, was a 
soldier in the armies of the North. Bishop Galloway came the 
first year and spoke on the race problem of the South, and we 
all went out and yelled, and thought it the very climax, for he 
spoke as he felt. Then he came around the next year and asked 
if he could speak on General Lee. I happened to be on the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 501 

program committee, and I said "All right; I made a speech on 
him once myself." Bishop Galloway gave us a wonderful dis- 
cussion of General Lee, and we put out the old Confederate flag. 
I think it was the same as the Epworth League colors. It might 
be a little different, but we had it all there. 

The third year he tried on us Judge L. Q. C. Lamar, and what 
a torment that was. Then the fourth year we got scared, and I 
went around to Bishop Cranston, and I said, "Your Eeverence, 
what do you think of having Bishop Galloway talk on the late 
Jefferson Davis ?" and he said, "Whatever Bishop Galloway wants 
to speak on, let us give him a hearing." We are not as sensitive, 
remember, as we think. If an old-timer like Bishop Cranston 
could stand that, we are not afraid of anything. 



CHURCH POLITY 
Bishop Denny 

There are two points on which I wish to address just a few 
remarks. The time allotted to these speakers on the topic which 
has just been discussed did not give any opportunity for discus- 
sion on ritual, but for that the brethren who have discussed the 
matter are not at all responsible. I suppose we should take a few 
minutes for discussion. 

In preparing that statement for the General Council, it was 
found that our bishops were needed. There was a unanimous 
report made on that matter to the General Conference. One of 
the points taken up was the standards of doctrine referred to in 
the first restrictive rule, and attention was called in that report 
to the fact of the ritualistic doctrine. Now if you have not taken 
any occasion to look into it, you would probably be surprised to 
find that our doctrine of universal atonement is enshrined in 
our ritual, but the report of the Methodist church, in their re- 
port to the Conference, with which the Conference had no time 
to deal, was that if the General Conference could begin to tamper 



502 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

with the ritual it could very easily by a majority vote make an 
entire change in the creed of the church. 1 just call your at- 
tention to that as an interesting fact. There is no time to dis- 
cuss it further than just to refer to it, but if you are interested 
in the report at all, you will find it published with the papers of 
the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, for the year 1914. 

Now yesterday we were cut off, by the fault of nobody, from 
anything like a discussion in connection with the papers that 
dealt with church polity. I wish to correct what might be a mis- 
apprehension. Nobody is qualified to state the doctrine of the 
.Methodist Episcopal Church, South, on the question of orders. 
The church has never pronounced itself on that question. There 
are some of us, however, who have quite steady convictions in 
the matter. 

Now sacerdotalism is not dependent on two orders, or three 
orders, or seven orders. For many of you know, of course, that 
the Eoman Catholic Church has seven orders, three major orders 
and four minor orders, and that has been the case with that 
church since about the twelfth century, and was the case in the 
day Martin Luther lived. It is the existence of orders in the 
sacerdotal sense, but not the number of orders, that makes 
sacerdotalism. The term "order" is contradictory. If we take 
"order" in its technical sense and want to preserve it from that 
terrible danger pointed out by Bacon in his splendid work, 
where he has divided it into four heads, we must be careful not to 
use terms that carry with them an atmosphere that will choke 
truth. 

Now "order" meant originally a sacrament, a grace, as well as a 
privilege communicated. And the very thing that Luther stood 
for, and which he most particularly emphasized in that greatest 
work of his, Liberty of Man, and which most prevents anything 
like a union between Protestantism and Catholicism to-day, is the 
priesthood of all believers. Can man come between man and 
God, and are priests the only dispensers of finite grace? No 
Methodist or Protestant believes that. I cannot go into the ques- 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 503 

tion. It is entirely too large. I singly want to save any mis- 
apprehension of the position of the Methodists on the question of 
orders. 

My Brother Downey said yesterday that he found the word 
"order" in the form of ordination for our bishops. I am some- 
what ashamed to say I have forgotten when we made a change 
in the form that Wesley sent over to us, but it has escaped my 
memory. I have tried quite hard, but I cannot recall the date. 
We did make a change, however, and I think it was a change 
simply in the alternative of the statement made in the title. I 
will not be certain of that. 

I have not a. sacerdotal order yet, although I have had three 
ordinations. When the church set me apart as a deacon, it did 
not confer on me any order in the sacerdotal sense. It did not 
put me in any position (and I say this to save others from being 
involved in my own statement. I do not know whether all the 
brethren from my own church will agree with me, but I know 
quite a number of men in my own church hold the same view of 
the doctrine ) which gave me the right to hold back any soul from 
its approach to God, although I was put in a responsible position 
and had necessarily, by being in a responsible position, certain 
functions to perform. Well, when two years later I was set 
apart as an elder, I was not ordained in the sacerdotal sense. I 
never have believed I was ordained in a sacerdotal sense. I 
would not undertake to stand between any sinful soul and its 
approach to Almighty God. He has just the same right to make 
that approach as you or any man has, or even the Pope of Home 
has. And when I was set apart as a bishop in the church, I was 
not given any order with any sacerdotal sense. 

Now, don't let us become entangled in fallacies that are very 
easily fallen into here. There is no "high church" among 
Methodists. There could not be, and be fully intelligent. We 
are bound to recognize that great scriptural truth, and wonder- 
ful privilege to which God calls us and which, by the grace of 
God, Martin Luther calls attention to, that every man stands 
before the Almighty God with the gracious privilege of approach 



504 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

to the Throne itself, without the intervention of any interme- 
diary except Christ, Our Lord. 

Thus we stand, so far as my own personal view is concerned, 
and what I believe is the view of the church with which I am 
connected. We have swept out the very last trace of sacerdotalism 
from our belief and from our doctrine. And if we are to Ik? 
entangled in it simply by the use of the word ordained, it only 
shows that everyone who gives it that meaning is bound to it. 
I have put in this thought simply for the reason that it might 
lead to a misunderstanding unless something was said. 

Bishop Cranston 

Yesterday and to-day we have heard, in one or two addresses, 
the situation compared with the matter of getting married. Now, 
Mr. Chairman, I don't think we ought to mix up our figures too 
much. There is no marrying about this business at all. I ques- 
tion very much whether two people sitting down and studying 
each other's temperaments scientifically would ever marry. I 
believe this is a scientific inquisition we are conducting here. 

In the second place I doubt whether the best expression of 
that type of love which each of us has for marriage is to be found 
in domestic complacency of the present type. 

We are here trying to reconstruct and protect a household, and 
trying to rebuild a temple that was shaken apart by a political 
and social upheaval. That is what we want to do. We don't 
want to get married to anybody. The brethren must come to- 
gether and God's household must be established. 



DOCTRINE AND RITUAL 

Professor Faulkner 

There was no opportunity given for discussion of the paper by 
Dr. Tillett. Dr. Tillett lias given us one of the ablest and best 
papers wo have had before this meeting, and as I take it, the 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 505 

question is of the very greatest importance in the matter of 
church union. What is the great thing that keeps the Eoman 
Catholic Church in one body? It is its common faith. What 
is the incentive that has led the Roman Catholic leaders, from 
the Pope down to parishioners ? It is that common thing called 
the modernized movement in the Eoman Catholic Church which 
works disolution for all in that church. It is the feeling that 
the modernism coming into the Roman Catholic Church will help 
to disintegrate that church, despite all the bonds that hold it to- 
gether. And there is nothing in my judgment that serves to 
keep the Methodist churches together and acts as a lever or 
fulcrum to make them into one more than the fact of our oneness 
in doctrine. 

You notice the hesitation that exists on the part of the Pres- 
byterian Church, South, about uniting with the Presbyterian 
Church, North. So much so, that I think there have not been 
very many overtures or efforts made to bring together those two 
churches. In my judgment one of the reasons for this hesitation 
of the Presbyterian Church, South, to unite with the Presbyte- 
rian Church, North, is the feeling of that church that many of 
the clergy of the Presbyterian church in the North have left the 
Calvinistic form of doctrine, and not only the Calvinistic form 
of doctrine, but have left the general type of evangelical faith; 
that a liberalism, and what they consider a false liberalism, has 
come into the General Presbyterian Church, North; and this 
persuasion hinders all efforts at union between those two 
churches. 

What I want to say is this, so long as our Methodist Church 
can be true to the general type of Arminian theology, that came 
down to us from our fathers, just so long will we have a lever or 
impulse towards union that must, in my judgment, be irresistible. 
On the other hand, when there comes into our churches that 
toning down of the essential faith we have received from our 
fathers — I do not mean by that any point which does not touch 
the central heart of our creeds, and I agree thoroughly with 
what Dr. Stuart says, that every age must think out its problems 



506 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

for itself, that goes without saying, there is in that sense a 
problem in theology that every live church must realize — but for 
all that, as soon as we leave the fundamental type of Methodist 
orthodoxy, which we have received from our fathers, which has 
been the driving force in our church from the beginning, which 
has brought thousands of young men into our ministry and is 
bringing them in every year — when that time comes, then that 
will act as an element of disintegration in our churches and the 
hope of union will largely disappear. 

That is one reason why I regret the defeat of the movement 
for a common creed of our churches by the General Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1908. I think that that 
one common statement of faith which we had received from 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, would have acted as a 
uniting force greatly to help the cause of union. 

President Stuaet 

Mr. Chairman: I want to take this opportunity, as long as I 
am on the floor, to say two things. 

First, I wanted the floor yesterday to make comment upon a 
very interesting observation of Professor Faulkner with reference 
to General Conference action on the subject of doctrine. I 
think he said he regretted the action of the General Conference 
of 1908, in not taking action favorable to the statements of 
doctrine. I feel the responsibility of saying that I think nothing 
would tend more to hinder the union of American Methodism 
than to have the General Conferences make official deliverances 
on doctrine. 

The whole matter of church divisions has come through differ- 
ences of opinion with regard to formulated statements of doc- 
trine, and what has happened in the past is very sure to happen 
in the future. It would be quite possible for Professor Faulkner 
and for Professor Tillett and for others to come together in this 
conference and make statements upon which we all, while we 
were talking, would agree; but if this same company were to 
come together a year from now and take up that deliverance, it 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 507 

would be practically impossible to get them to agree upon what 
had been agreed to at this time. 

The whole tendency of definition, in my mind, is to run in 
rigid molds. While Professor Faulkner and Professor Tillett 
could interpret their symbols in their spirit, after their minds 
and in their way, it would not be very easy to get a company 
of Methodist preachers to come together and take those same 
symbols and interpret them in Professor Faulkner's and Profes- 
sor Tillett's way. 

The second thing I wanted to say was this: I sympathize 
perfectly with what was said yesterday about the need of simpler 
statements of doctrine. We have them. We have more than we 
use. We have primers almost without end, and the seminary 
with which I am connected, always having in view the theological 
needs of the country, as far back as 1887 printed a pamphlet pre- 
pared by Doctor Terry, on the doctrines of Methodism in which 
the statements were so straightforward, so succinct and so simple 
that one or two, I don't remember which, of the minor bodies 
adopted them as their articles. 

I had occasion yesterday to get a copy of this pamphlet for 
the use of my friend Dr. Moore, and in looking it over I was 
greatly impressed with the pertinence to our discussion of Doctor 
Terry's closing words: 

In the study and treatment of some of these doctrines there is, 
and ought to be, room for rational differences of opinion. A sober 
freedom exercised on profound mysteries of Christian faith is more 
helpful to solid piety than an enforced restraint. There are divergent 
theories of the atoning work of Christ; pre millenarians and post- 
millenarians are often found in the same communion; discussions 
are common in which we note varying conceptions of the resur- 
rection, heaven, hell, and the day of judgment; even so practical a 
subject as that of sanctification has been taught in various ways. 
But it is not to be expected that all devout and thoughtful minds 
will minutely agree on matters which the Holy Scriptures have not 
made absolutely clear. In non-essentials, wherein men have always 
differed, we can well afford to think and let think ; we agree to 
disagree. The friendly interchange of varying views should inspire 
and lead to deeper knowledge. But on all the great fundamental 



50S A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

doctrines there should be substantial harmony, and it is a matter 
for profound gratitude to God that in so wide a range of Christian 
doctrine as that outlined above, there has been among Arminian 
Methodists a remarkable and even enthusiastic unanimity. 

Professor Tillett 

I want to add just a little to what Dr. Stuart said this morn- 
ing in regard to something that Dr. Terry wrote concerning a 
statement of Methodist faith. He quoted the closing sentences 
from a little pamphlet by Dr. Terry. They were admirable 
words, every one of which I thoroughly indorse myself; but Dr. 
Stuart failed to say that those words from Dr. Terry were at 
the end of twenty-five articles of religion that Doctor Terry had 
himself prepared, as a general statement of Methodist faith. 
In this statement of the doctrines of Methodism, Dr. Terry has 
taken our Twenty-five Articles and altered, more or less, every 
one of them, and this because they are not a satisfactory and 
adequate expression of Methodist faith, as he himself declared 
in his pamphlet. For instance, take the first of our Articles in 
its original form, — that concerning "God." It has no reference 
whatever either to the love or the holiness of God, the two crown- 
ing attributes of the Divine Being. Dr. Terry restates that 
article in keeping with the faith of modern Methodism, and sets 
forth the fatherhood and love and holiness of God, thus making 
it an adequate expression of our faith. Not only that, but in 
those twenty-five Articles which Dr. Terry has prepared and 
which he calls the "Doctrines of Arminian Methodism" he has 
prepared a new article on the "Unlimited Atonement" and in- 
serted it there; and another on the "Witness of the Spirit"; and 
another on the "Doctrines of Entire Sanctification" ; and yet 
another on the "Evangelization of the World." And I desire to 
say that I think this is one of the best statements of Methodist 
doctrine that ever have been drawn up in so brief a compass, 
and I could wish that every follower of John Wesley who wants 
a simple statement of Methodist faith could have in his posses- 
sion a copy of this brief, simple statement of Methodist faith. 
When these words are quoted from Dr. Terry, which Dr. Stuart 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 509 

read this morning declaring that on all these great fundamental 
doctrines there is substantial harmony, and that it is a matter 
for profound gratitude to God that in so wide a range of Chris- 
tian doctrine as that outlined by him there is perfect agreement, 
we must remember that it is his own statement of Methodist 
faith that he is referring to — a statement which calls attention 
to the utter inadequacy of our Twenty-five Articles and any other 
official statement that we may be said to have. 

Now, I add this word because you might, from what Dr. 
Stuart said this morning, have thought that Dr. Terry was op- 
posed to the movement to which Dr. Faulkner referred, looking 
toward the preparation of an adequate and modern statement of 
the faith of world-wide Methodism — such a statement as Brother 
Crawford said he needed, and Bishop McDowell said he needed 
in his widely extended connection and work with the students 
of America, which Dr. Faulkner said that he felt was greatly 
needed. I have before me a communication from Dr. Terry 
concerning the proposed statement of Methodist faith that was 
either directly or indirectly referred to by these three speakers, 
and which communication is published in the volume I hold in 
my hand, in which he not only strongly approves of an effort to 
secure the proposed statement of Methodist faith, and thought 
it a much desired thing ; but said that he would deplore it if his 
church should fail to respond favorably to the overture of the 
Southern Methodist Church which had been sent just before he 
wrote to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, asking that they cooperate in the preparation of such a 
statement of the common faith of Methodism. 

I desire also to allude to the action of the bishops of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in 1908, and I bear in mind as I 
do so that you have a democratic idea of the episcopacy, and that 
one may venture even to call in question the wisdom of what 
bishops may say and do. I do not know that I could venture to 
speak in a critical way to or of Bishop Denny and his colleagues, 
if this high-church and autocratic idea that our church in the 
South has (or is supposed by our Northern brethren to have) 



510 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

of episcopacy be accepted as true. But I call attention to the fact 
that, when the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
1908 drew up their quadrennial address to the General Confer- 
ence, they said such a statement as was proposed was not needed, 
and then they went on immediately to say that no other or better 
modern statement of Methodist faith was necessary or desirable 
than the one which they had themselves prepared and published, 
and which they then proceeded to quote. 

And it is an admirable brief statement of our Methodist faith 
let me say — that which they prepared and which was referred 
to by my fellow speaker on this theme, Dr. Bowen. But when 
these bishops declared that no other new statement was necessary 
other than that which they had drawn up, they declared by their 
own action that a modern statement of the faith of world-wide 
Methodism is really desired and needed. Dr. Terry spent years 
and years teaching young ministers, and found that what we had 
was totally inadequate, and, in the absence of such a modern 
statement prepared by and representing the wisdom of world- 
wide Methodism, he proceeded to prepare the best statement that 
he as an individual could. Dr. Stuart said he did not want 
Garrett Biblical Institute to be misunderstood in its attitude 
toward this question, and he was afraid if he was silent it would 
be. And so I do not want Dr. Terry's words as quoted by Dr. 
Stuart to be misunderstood, and therefore I wanted to let vou 
know these facts to which I have called attention with regard to 
Dr. Terry's own work in this line, and to his written indorsement 
of the movement to secure an official and representative state- 
ment of the common faith of world-wide Methodism. 

When the two men who introduced this movement in 1006 in 
the Southern Methodist General Conference signed their names 
to the resolution, they said that it would of course take from ten 
to twenty years to get a thing of this kind through the General 
Conference of either branch of episcopal Methodism. They 
simply hoped to start it as a matter of public discussion, and 
then turn it over to the larger branch of Methodism, and thev 
thought that probably, before anything positive and effective 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 511 

could be done on the subject, it would have to come as a proposi- 
tion from the Methodist Episcopal Church to the Methodisms of 
the world. And so nobody was more astonished at the action of 
the Southern Methodist General Conference in so quickly indors- 
ing the proposition to invite at once the various branches of 
Methodism to join in this movement than the two men who intro- 
duced the resolution in the General Conference of the Church 
South. It takes time, many years, to consummate a movement 
of this kind. And may I say in conclusion that, while I did in 
my paper make a brief allusion to what I regarded as a needed 
modern statement of the faith of Methodism, that would have 
been all that I would have said on the subject but for the remarks 
of Mr. Crawford, Dr. Faulkner, and Bishop McDowell in favor 
of such a statement, and those of Dr. Stuart in opposition. And 
I am mentioning it now, not that I want anything whatever at- 
tempted at this time along this line. I would vote against agitat- 
ing it now if it were up, because I believe it would hamper 
and delay union ; but, at the same time, I believe in that good day 
of a united Methodism that is to come, that what Brother Craw- 
ford needs he will get, something to put into the hands of his 
cultured daughter, a college graduate, who wants to know what 
the Faith of Methodism is so as to teach it to her younger sisters ; 
and that Bishop McDowell also will have the statement of our 
faith that he has needed in his work with college and university 
students. And when that day comes, if I am living, I will be 
glad to cast my vote for it. 

Chaieman Denny 

Before I recognize Dr. Stuart, just a minute. May I say no 
branch of Methodism known to me, and I have spent some years 
trying to be familiar with it, has ever issued an injunction against 
a statement of faith by any man who wishes to make it. 

Peesident Stuaet 

That was just what I was going to say. As long as Dr. Tillett 
will sign the declaration, and I understand it to be his declara- 



512 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

tion, that is all right; but the moment the General Conferences 
pronounce upon it, that is quite another matter. Dr. Terry may 
have personally indorsed Dr. Tillett's proposed formula for a 
Methodist creed, but I doubt exceedingly whether Dr. Terry 
would for a minute ask that either his statement or Dr. Tillett's 
should become the formulated statement of the General Confer- 
ence, to become a binding document upon the conscience of the 
ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church. If Dr. Tillett is 
to provide us with a primer of Methodism well and good, pro- 
vided he accepts open responsibility for it. Dr. Terry issued this 
pamphlet, and signed it as his personal expression. If one 
agrees with Dr. Terry, that is all right. If one does not agree 
with Dr. Terry, that is not heresy. If one agrees with a General 
Conference declaration, that is all right, but if one dissents from 
it, that is heresy. It makes a world of difference. 



THE RITUAL 

Fitzgerald S. Parker 

Mr. Chairman : We seem to be taking the liberty of discussing 
some things that were on the program yesterday. I want to say 
a few things about the ritual. There is no doubt in our mind 
how very important this ritual is. And there has been some un- 
merited tampering with the ritual, and not only unmerited tam- 
pering with the ritual, but cunibersomcly done, so that it has left 
our provision in the ritual this, a deviation from the original 
truth taught by the ritual. 

Now I should welcome union through every point of view, 
but I would be particularly delighted if union were the occasion 
of restoring our ritual to its original form. I would be delighted 
if the order of service were included in part of the ritual. We 
spend a good many dismal quarter hours at times because we have 
sympathy with the pew rather than the pulpit, mid while the 
pastor is experimenting with the worship life of his congregation. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 513 

Thus I should welcome union because the reorganization of the 
combined union of Methodists might express itself in that. 

We shall never have a final form of service unless it is con- 
structed with reference to the historical principles that are ex- 
pressed in the worship views of the church of all ages, and that 
embody in it established forms of service. 

I very greatly deprecate every Methodist body falling away 
from the Old Testament lessons. I confess I have a great deal of 
sympathy with Alexander Campbell in his effort to restore ethical 
Christianity, but I have no sympathy with that denomination in 
their repudiation of the Old Testament and our Articles of Faith 
declare the Old Testament as about as valid as the New Testa- 
ment. But the Old Testament lessons have disappeared from 
the church, contrary to the intentions of those who gave us our 
present form of worship. I trust we may unite upon a form of 
service. 



CHURCH DISCIPLINE 

Bishop Denny 

I rise with some regret because I have already been on the floor 
this morning. This is probably the only opportunity I shall have 
to call your attention to what seems to me to be an important 
point. In dealing with discipline, the question very naturally 
arises, where do we find the conditions on which we propose to 
insist? Are they to be found in our prejudices? No, we could 
not say that. We could not defend that. Are they found in 
modern or ancient customs? I hardly think we could say that. 
I believe if we give our attention with any care to the matter, we 
shall find that the only safe position we can take, and the only 
position as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we can de- 
fend — and for myself I avow right here, that He fills the whole 
sphere of God for me — the only conditions that can be univer- 
sally and joyfully embraced and followed, that can be insisted on, 
that will not lead to danger, are in the revealed Word of God. 



514 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Whenever any body of men has departed from His conditions, 
they have brought in a train of terrible consequences. The Roman 
Church did that. What do we find? Take the instance of celi- 
bacy of the clergy. 

Anybody who has tried to familiarize himself with the conse- 
quences of that knows just what it led to. Take that splendid 
leader Zwingli, and his co-laborers, and his letter addressed to 
his bishop, with reference to the celibacy of the clergy. Where 
did the Christians of that day get the celibacy of the clergy? 
There are certain restrictions laid upon the man of family, there 
are certain restrictions put upon his liberty. There are certainly 
serious limitations put upon his activity, and so academically 
and theoretically, but possibly with good intention, they said, If 
we have everybody in the ministry free from a family life, we 
shall get very much better workers and very much more efficient 
work out of them. But in imposing that condition they acted 
without any regard for the social element that God built into 
humanity, without any regard whatever for that deeper insight 
into the fact that there are traits of character only brought out 
by experience in the family, and without warrant from our Lord. 
Then you had an explosion in every land in which that un- 
scriptural scheme was tried. 

We must be on our guard in this matter of discipline, whether 
it be in our own churches as now existing, or in whatever possible 
union of the churches under the guidance of God we may come to. 
We must be on our guard, and not step out of the limit we find 
in the revealed Word of God. You say, perhaps, Can you give 
any point on which we need to be on our guard ? Yes, I think I 
can. I hope it won't be a firebrand. Where do we .get our war- 
rant for prohibition of tobacco as a condition for entrance into 
the Methodist ministry? In the Church with which I am con- 
nected, and possibly in the discipline of the other churches, where 
do you get it? Somebody probably says, because it is filthy. Any 
man ought to be aide to understand that the purpose of such pas- 
sages was to build a wall against sensuality. Brethren, do we 
propose to continue this in our Disciplines? T had no oppor- 



UNION OF AMEEICAN METHODISM 515 

tunity to make such a statement as this when the matter was up 
with us, because when a man is put into the episcopacy he has 
the experience of Zacharias — he sees the angel that makes him 
dumb, and if he gets his voice again and his tongue, it is only 
when a child is born and such an opportunity as this comes to 
him. 

I did not have an opportunity to open my mouth when that was 
up, and I regretted it, I regretted it because I really believed it 
was a step in the wrong direction. As a matter of expediency all 
this may be right. Just as it is expedient for a man to know 
enough to clothe himself so that he will not call special attention 
to himself by peculiar methods of dress and manner, and so 
forth. But you know, here all our churches occupy a common 
ground, and we are all, whether we know it or not, in this trouble 
— that no man shall enter the Methodist ministry who does not 
comply with this special requirement. It would keep out Francis 
Asbury. It would have kept out William McKendree. It would 
have kept out Joshua Soule, and not to go on your side, it would 
have kept Alpheus W Wilson out of the ministry. To one of 
our brethren who nearly broke his jaw as he ground his teeth on 
chewing gum and spoke against this matter, I said, "What do you 
want to do, keep such men out of the ministry ?" "Yes, I would 
put every last one of them out." Well, the Good Lord knows that 
if I had the determination of the matter I would bring every one 
of them back into the Church for the service they rendered by 
the grace of God, and the wonderful efficiency and deep consecra- 
tion of their lives. 

In all honesty I think we need to be on our guard. I could go 
on more largely as you readily see, and I should like to have the 
matter searched to the bottom. Let us try to determine what is 
the basis for every regulation we lay down. If it be wrong for 
any man coming into the ministry, what about the man coming 
into the Church, and are we ready to go the length of saying 
these things should be made terms of church membership ? Can 
I throw this out just as an illustration? Naturally I shall go 
away as I fully understand, with something of the scar that fol- 



516 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

lows a statement made against the trend of the times. Per- 
haps you say to me, you use tobacco, and therefore you are mak- 
ing a self-defense. No, I am not making a self-defense. I am 
not including myself in the term at any time. They did not pro- 
pose to make that rule retroactive. I am speaking with utter 
reverence. I am referring to a very little matter that illustrates 
a very great and vital principle. 

Mr. Crawford 

I don't know whether it is proper for me to venture a remark 
or not as representing those who are to be disciplined, rather 
than those who are already administrators of discipline, as repre- 
senting a very large number for whom apparently rules are 
written. Before I say anything about that, however, I do want to 
say that I hope in the united church which is to come, if possible, 
many of these matters will be so phrased and so arranged that 
the principle will be that we expect nothing higher of the min- 
isters than we expect of the laity. To me, it is not a wise thing 
to say that a minister must not smoke. I believe it is expedient. 
I believe it is prudent, but I don't believe it is wise to say that 
he must not. I have the acquaintance of one or two ministers 
in the Methodist Episcopal Church who had said, on the occasion 
of their reception into the Conference, that they had no intention 
of smoking, but they declined to promise that they never would. 
It seems to me that we ought to leave out of the common revised 
order of ritual those things which tend either to stultify the lay- 
membership or to put into the hands of the administrators of 
discipline rules which they cannot enforce and yet which they are 
bound to enforce. 

It applies not only to this one thing which Bishop Denny has 
spoken of, but it applies to that long list of amusements of which, 
as Bishop Hamilton said before, the list contained in the Book 
of Discipline of the church to which I belong was but the begin- 
ning. In fact, that was a more or less humorous attempt to com- 
plete the list way back in the Cleveland General Conference 
which kept it in the church and kept it in the book, and we never 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 517 

since have been able to get it out. It does have its effect. I 
believe that in the church it is advisable to have general prin- 
ciples, but I cannot subscribe to dictations in the matter of con- 
science upon minor details of Christian life and practice except 
so far as they are laid down specifically by the Word of God, and 
therefore, I rise to state that. 

Another thing, I would like as a layman to emphasize what Dr. 
Faulkner said about the wisdom or practical usefulness of hav- 
ing in this day of an educated membership, some official state- 
ment of what the Methodist Church stands for, which can be 
printed and can be taken at least as a comprehensive official state- 
ment of our policy in the theoretical and spiritual. 

I remember when my own daughter came to her majority and 
came home from a rather successful career at one of the women's 
colleges, eager to enter upon the work of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in the city where I live, she said to me : "So and so asked 
me — 'What does the Methodist Episcopal Church believe V Now 
will you tell me?" I had a very important engagement, and I 
was obliged to say to her, "It will take me some time to put it 
before you so that you will really see it, but I am coming home 
to-night, and I have no engagement after dinner, and we will sit 
down and have two or three hours' talk, and if that will give 
you any light, I will do the best I can." I spent more than three 
hours in trying to make clear to her what the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church stands for, simply because I did not have by in- 
heritance or at my hand a manual of instruction, nor did I have 
in my limited library any book to which I could turn where she 
could find and I could find a brief, concise, and intelligent state- 
ment of those great truths which I believe and which it is neces- 
sary for any man to believe for his soul's health. So I stand 
to-day simply as representing the laymen. I think they ought to 
have a chance to be heard upon that subject. 

Peofessor Tillett 

I wish to say a word concerning the question under considera- 
tion — the use of tobacco by ministers and worldly amusements as 



518 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

matters of disciplinary legislation and regulation. If one wishes 
never to be misunderstood or misinterpreted or criticized for his 
views, he would do well never to speak on this subject; but this 
should not prevent us in a conference like this from giving a 
perfectly frank expression of our opinions, as to how the church 
should deal with these matters. 

And now as to how best to deal with the question of ministers 
using tobacco, let me speak as one who has spent his life in edu- 
cating young preachers, and who two or tiiree times in earlier 
General Conferences voted against, and even spoke against, the 
enactment of any rule prohibiting preachers or others from using 
tobacco, and then coming at length at the last General Confer- 
ence to cast my vote for the prohibitory action taken at that 
time by our church. And this I did even though it reversed my 
vote at previous sessions of the General Conference, and I want 
to tell you why I changed my views and my vote. 

As I said, I have spent my life in educating young ministers 
of the Southern Methodist Church, and for years I tried to use 
moral suasion to get them not to use tobacco. I tried to show 
them the reasons why they should not use it ; but I failed to in- 
duce them by this means to avoid the hurtful habit. I did not 
want the church to say, "You shall not do it," or "You are sub- 
ject to discipline and to be put out of the ministry if you use it." 
I felt that 1 did not want to be compelled to put it on that 
basis — that there was another higher and more rational ground 
that I could effectively put it on. And during the years that I 
have been talking to these preacher boys and putting it on that 
basis, they would say, "Yes, all that is fine ; that is a delicate and 
good argument against the habit." And I should myself like 
to have it left there; but there was bishop after bishop seen by 
them sitting in the social group smoking his fragrant cigar — and 
the same was true of honored connectional officers and presiding 
elders and influential church leaders without number. These 
examples T found were more powerful than my arguments. As 
lonir as T talked about, "If meat make mv brother to offend. I 
will eat no meat," and used moral suasion, they approved this 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 519 

argument and this method of opposing the habit; but what did 
they do ? Why, they, many of them at least, just as you might 
expect, followed the example of those who, holding high office in 
the church, and recognized as among our truest and best men, 
indulged in this habit. 

Having tried faithfully to break up the habit of using tobacco 
on the part of our young preachers by showing them its injurious 
effects upon them and their influence as preachers, and seeing so 
many of them continuing to form the habit, I reluctantly 
changed my view as to the propriety and wisdom of the church's 
taking disciplinary action ; and so, not without a sense of mortifi- 
cation and humiliation, I voted that we say to the young preach- 
ers who enter our ministry: "You must not and shall not use 
tobacco." I am sorry to say that I believe that that is the only 
way you are ever going to break up this habit among preachers. 

Now then, as to the other matter — worldly amusements — I am 
the son of an itinerant Methodist preacher, who for fifty years 
preached the gospel and was just about as strict in his time and 
with his children with reference to the matter of popular amuse- 
ments as I suppose was any other Methodist minister in his day. 
He preached often against dancing, and going to circus, and 
theater-going, and he would not only not allow his children 
to go to the circus, but would not even let them stay out in 
the front yard or on the front porch when the circus was mov- 
ing by. 

If any boys were ever reared to stay away from those things, 
and grew up with that ideal in the home, the children of my 
father were certainly so reared. And yet, brethren, we cannot 
be blind to the fact that God has placed in the nature of every 
child, boy and girl, born into this world, the desire for amuse- 
ment. The desire for entertainment and recreation is deep-seated 
in human nature and this is true of grown-up men and women 
as well as children. I am not at all sure that Methodism and 
other churches, that have been in sympathy with us and have 
generally held like views, have exactly hit it right through all 
these years in saying that all dancing is wrong and all theater- 



f>?0 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

going is wrong, and so many of the amusements are wrong. If 
amusements and recreations and popular pleasures are abused, 
and give trouble, the church has tended to draw away from them, 
and turn them over to the world — and then to prohibit them. I 
am not sure that we have handled this thing most wisely, and I 
believe in all frankness as we face this twentieth century, the new 
Methodism that is to come must not go into minute details or 
undertake to name in its discipline everything that is wrong. I 
think it wisest to lay down the Christian principle involved in 
this as in other things, and simply affirm, as our Southern 
Church has done, the New Testament platform on which we 
stand, to do only those things which we can do in the name of the 
Lord Jesus, and with a sense of his presence and approval. We 
should try to control and purify and ennoble recreations and 
pleasures, and utilize all forms of amusement that may be in- 
nocent — and this for the purpose of saving our young people and 
of sanctifying, not secularizing, their lives. 

Again, if our people are going to indulge in these amusements, 
if they are going to the theater, if they are going to patronize 
the dance and to have their children do so, we are not going to 
discipline them for so doing, what are we gaining by specifically 
mentioning those things in the Book of Discipline? And then 
you know — every one of you pastors of city churches knows — that 
your people are indulging in all these pleasures and amusements, 
and you are doing nothing whatever and are going to do nothing 
in a disciplinary way to prevent it. And I venture to ask, Is it 
not a source of moral weakness rather than of strength to a 
church to be mentioning in minute details this and that form of 
amusement, and to make laws prohibiting them, when you know 
that every one of those laws is being continually violated by your 
people? Is it not better to have no such specific laws than it is 
to have them and never enforce them ? A law universally ignored 
and violated is a source of moral weakness, and not of strength, 
to a church. I believe that this is one of the most difficult things 
that this Methodism of ours has got to face for the future, and 
yet it is one that we ought to face courageously and prayerfully, 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 521 

and try, if we can, not to prohibit our people from this and that 
and everything in the way of popular entertainment and amuse- 
ment, but to try to regulate and purify and ennoble recreation 
and pleasures and amusements, and thus control them and not 
turn a thing over to the world because it has the possibility of 
abuse and evil in it. I believe our church will gain and not lose, 
in strength and moral influence, if it can and will do this. And 
to do this will not be compromising with the world and with sin ; 
it will rather be carrying the saving influences of the gospel into 
these important phases of the manifold life of the men and 
women who fellowship with us, and especially of the young people 
who are committed to our guidance and care. 

Bishop McDowell 

Mr. Chairman and Brothers of my home community here, I 
have been wondering how long I can exercise this severe stricture 
of silence that I have kept upon myself without danger. I have 
therefore arisen to say a word or two touching two or three 
questions that are before us now. 

First of all, we have to recognize that it is the tendency of an 
organization to multiply certain of its regulations, and the ques- 
tions by being multiplied tend to become complex. We have had 
that experience in all our churches. Conditions of salvation, con- 
ditions of place in the kingdom of Christ are very much simpler, 
I fancy, than the regulations concerning membership in the 
Church of Christ. Now that is probably necessary to church 
life, and I did not rise to discuss that except to say that all our 
regulations should bear the double test, first, that they should be 
the expression of our highest spiritual life, and second, that they 
should promote spiritual life. 

Sometimes these regulations come into being when the spirit- 
ual life of the church is low, and the church endeavors to accom- 
plish by formal legislation something in the way of spiritual 
richness and power, which is always a doubtful experiment. Our 
regulations, therefore, should emerge at the highest lever of 
spiritual life and should be tested by their ability to produce 



M2 A WORKING CONFIDENCE ON THE 

spiritual life. Now that is what I want to say touching that 
general point. 

Touching the question of amusements, I have hut a word to 
say, and that is this, that I think it vastly more important to 
determine what amusements, what social life, what pleasure the 
church will furnish than what it will prohibit and forbid. And 
the extreme test of church efficiency is not in the completeness 
of the lists of those things which it will deny to its youth and 
its people who are no longer young, but will be tested by the 
kind of social life it will provide for the world. It seems to me 
very much more important. 

That is not exactly easy. One of the most melancholy words 
in all the New Testament is the word that was spoken when the 
people were out with Jesus in the late afternoon when the food 
was gone and no food in sight and the disciples offered that 
common suggestion, "Send them away and let them go into the 
villages and buy their own bread." It is the easy suggestion, let 
them go somewhere else and buy their social life, buy it here, 
buy it there, buy it the other place. But I tell you that that 
united church which is coming will have as one of its very great 
tasks the creation of that kind of social life that will enable it to 
say in commanding fashion in the name of its Lord, "They need 
not depart." For all that life needs let it stay near to Jesus 
Christ. 

Now touching the third matter, namely, the doctrinal state- 
ment, I have this to say. This is not an imaginary difficulty — it 
is not an imaginary difficulty to us who are ministers, it is not an 
imaginary difficulty to our young people, it is not an imaginary 
difficulty to anybody that we have no simple commanding state- 
ment of those gracious and blessed tilings that we believe, and I 
think it exceedingly significant that this question should come in 
this fashion before us. The church life of all the churches ha<. 
in my judgment, been organized quite too largely upon the theory 
that the church life is an adult and mature life, which it is not. 

The statement of Christian belief has been made quite too 
largely upon the theory of intellectual competence on the part of 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 523 

Christian believers, instead of being made, as in my judgment it 
ought to be made, for its educative value in the guidance to those 
who are seeking their way toward maturity. And what is proper 
in a carefully, scientifically educated body of brethren, and what 
is proper when you are dealing with a boy twelve years of age 
who wants to know what he is to believe, are two very different 
things. Some of you will remember that some years ago, when 
one of the very great men of our church, one of the great men 
of American Methodism, whose work has a kind of a unique dis- 
tinction, who yet abides with us — some of you will remember 
that Bishop Vincent made a little statement on what he called 
the ten points of doctrine. Now that was a simple little state- 
ment which was used possibly by the hundreds and possibly by 
the thousands, and it was of almost inestimable value in the 
guidance of the faith of those who used it. 

It is my fortune every year to speak to and to meet more or less 
intimately anywhere from fifteen to twenty thousand college 
and university men and women. It is one of the opportunities 
that God gives me, and has given me through these years. Time 
after time, and time after time young Methodists, young per- 
sons who have become Methodists, have said, "Where shall I find 
what we believe ?" But there is a vast difference between the par- 
ticular doctrine that a person wants to lay hold of for life, and 
the doctrine that may have been written out in theological con- 
troversy, and which may state what was the result of friendly dis- 
cussion between scientific theologians. And in these requests that 
have been made to me by these students whom I am meeting by 
the thousands I have wished more than once that we had some- 
thing as satisfactory, as free from technicalities, as free from 
ecclesiastical and theological niceties as the little statement that 
appeared in McLaren's book, The Mind of the Master, which 
found such instant acceptance on the part of thousands of people. 
We have the best doctrines in the world. They have never been 
stated officially. They are hard to find unless you know the way 
well. 

Brothers, we are not working toward an ecclesiasticism. Our 



521 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

great problem is the problem of the redemption of the life that 
is around about us; not simply the salvation of the lost who have 
gone away, but as has been finely said, the salvation from loss on 
the part of those who are already within our fold. Not only so, 
but we shall have a task of international redemption that we 
have not yet entirely comprehended, and which will be upon us as 
upon nobody else in this world. Heaven help us not to fail the 
world in that great near day. This then is the thing ; our rules 
and regulations should emerge at the highest levels of spiritual 
life and be for the production of spiritual life. And our social 
life shall be tested not so much by what we forbid as by what we 
furnish and encourage. And our doctrinal statement shall be 
tested by its workability, as the gospel itself is by its workability 
with the man of the street. 

Now I do not like that man on the street better than other 
men, but heaven save me if I should ever cease to like him. I 
am not so anxious to conform to all the standards of the man on 
the street. That is not the point, but I am eager to see the 
standards we have used and stated in such fashion that the man 
on the street, the common man, shall get hold of the principles of 
Jesus Christ, and that he shall be transformed into the life of 
Jesus Christ, and live in that same life. 



THE CALL TO PRAYER 

Bishop Hendeix 

My dear brethren, I rise to a question of privilege at this junc- 
ture. The gentlemen who have charge of the Lindgrcn fund, 
with their counselors, invited the senior bishops of the several 
churches with Doctor Lewis, an ex-President of the Methodist 
Protestant Church, and Doctor Chown, of Toronto, Ontario, to 
a conference with reference to drawing up a paper that might 
embody an appeal to our several constituents of Methodism, and 
those identified in the interest of Christian union, and particu- 
larly for intercessory prayer as bearing on that vital question. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 525 

My brethren, I have felt most keenly now for a couple of years 
the peril in which the Christian world stands. Coming back from 
the East, at the outbreak of the war, my Canadian steamer was 
convoyed by two other steamers that we might not be destroyed 
while going up among the iceberg region with lights out and 
with no reckonings of our ship's progress made by night or day, 
and feeling our way along by dead reckoning, I remember the 
counsel I took with a great jurist, the Chief Justice of Canada, 
Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, a member of the Hague Tribunal, whose 
business it has been to sit in some of those most important cases 
submitted to that body. And I said, "Sir Charles, may I not 
ask you that during our voyage you will favor this great ship's 
company with some address or remark on the subject of the 
Hague Tribunal ?" He said, "My dear Bishop, you must excuse 
me. I have lost faith in it." 

Now, brethren, that is a most startling condition of affairs, 
when the very men chosen by the great nations feel that their 
hands are unsupported by public sentiment and this whole ques- 
tion of our civilization is in peril. That is what has led to the 
preparation of the paper of the hour because of the immense 
responsibility which rests upon the churches. 

I happened to be a member of the Canadian Church Peace 
Union, and I remember with the profoundest interest a state- 
ment made by Mr. Carnegie when he gave ten million dollars 
to found a general peace union. He said to men like Elihu 
Root and Joseph A. Choate and to the eminent men who were 
charged with the administration of that fund: "Gentlemen, I 
am willing to stake my fortune, I am willing to stake my life, 
I am willing to stake the salvation of my humble soul upon the 
ultimate perfection of the doctrine of arbitration." 

He made the same remark in handing us two million dollars 
to be administered by the churches, for the time had come when, 
in his judgment, it was necessary, in order to make operative 
this broader policy of international arbitration, that there should 
be Christian sentiment back of it. 

I had a letter from him asking my judgment in the premises 



526 A WOEKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

as to how they would receive a gift from him in that interest, 
and would I be willing to aid in administering it ? Twenty-nine 
men were invited in that way by personal application. They met 
at his home as his guests and then he stood in his drawing-room 
and said : "Gentlemen, man is a rational being. The time must 
come when reason must prevail in the affairs of men, and the 
time must come when the sword shall be beaten into a plow share 
and the spear into a pruning hook. I want to turn over two 
million dollars to you gentlemen, in the interest of interna- 
tional peace, and with this further arrangement, believing as 
I do that the time will come when arbitration shall be the law 
of the great nations and also of the smaller nations. The ques- 
tion of the administering of this fund is left absolutely in your 
hands. Arbitration must come, and the two million dollars are 
yours to be administered as you may deem best in the interest 
of humanity. Only a two-thirds vote is necessary from you 
gentlemen or your successors as trustees in the permanent use 
of this fund after international arbitration is established in the 
world." Gentlemen and brethren, are we not startled to-night 
by the consciousness that international arbitration is as far away 
as ever? 

Now the question of tremendous moment that comes is : What 
are the churches to do? And preeminently, what has the great 
Methodist connection to do in a crisis like that? In this con- 
dition of affairs, we have this gift of Mr. Lindgren's which is 
being administered, and under whose auspices we are gathered 
here to-day, and out of it has come this paper to urge all the 
churches to pray. An appeal to the churches, signed on behalf 
of this body, to be approved by you, an appeal to our Methodist 
constituents, and this is the resolution. [See Resolution. ] 

In deference to Bishop Denny's request that the appeal should 
appear as a declaration of opinion on the part of individuals 
rather than an official expression of the church through its 
representatives, a slight modification of the original wording 
was suggested and adopted. 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 527 

PRAYER AS AN INSTRUMENT OF UNION 
Bishop Hamilton 

Mk. Chairman: The most serious things are brought to our 
attention at this moment, and I am profoundly moved after 
hearing this paper read. 

We have met here in a conference of two full days, to con- 
sider, I confidently believe with sincere purpose, the most impor- 
tant interest now engaging the minds and hearts of a number of 
the great religious communions, which when taken together 
make the largest body of Christian believers in this country. 
What we say and do should not only influence the denominations 
themselves but have an all-important bearing on the life and 
integrity of the nation. 

I recall an interesting experience I had years ago in the city 
of Boston, which it is not out of place for me to relate at this 
time. I was passing through Ashburton Place when I noticed 
for the first time the sign over the new law office of General 
Benjamin F. Butler. I had known him when I was a pastor in 
the city and had frequently called on him in the interest of per- 
sons who desired his assistance. It occurred to me that he would 
see me again even if I had no special errand. I went to the 
door of the office and sent him my card ; he admitted me at once. 
I said, as he extended his hand, "General, I am not here with a 
petition nor to ask you for money. It is simply a pastoral visit." 
"After so long," he said cordially. "Come here and sit near to 
me." He was very feeble; it was only a few weeks before he 
died. Though not a Methodist, I found he was interested to 
know all about certain questions which were then being discussed 
in the church papers. As I arose to go, he said, "Wait. I 
want to know when your church and the Southern Methodist 
Church are to unite." Giving me no opportunity to reply, he 
continued, "Hand me from that upper shelf my book," which 
was a copy of his Autobiography that had been published some 
time before, He turned to a page in the book and read to me 



528 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

a statement he had made after the division of the church in 
1844, which was to the effect that dividing the church meant 
that there would be an attempt to divide the Union. Closing 
the book, he said to me, "Remember this, there will never be 
a perfect restoration of the States until your great churches 
are united." Though he was a man severely criticized both in 
the North and the South, his great ability and general intel- 
ligence were never called in question. His opinion was based 
on political observation, and was intended to be an impartial 
one. 

I do not believe the union of these and other Methodist 
churches will ever be consummated without devout prayer with 
unceasing importunity. And I firmly believe the praying will 
lead to such conciliatory spirit, wise counsel, and revealed plan 
of union that there will be no longer any differences to keep the 
churches apart. 

When Admiral Dewey's victory at Manila was announced in 
Washington, Mr. McKinley said there was no man of either 
party whose counsel he sought could tell him what should be 
done with the Philippines. For two weeks he said he was bewild- 
ered with the perplexity, when suddenly it occurred to him as if 
by inspiration that God should direct nations as well as indi- 
viduals. As a Christian man with confidence in prayer he went 
to his room, closed the door, fell on his knees, and pleaded fer- 
vently for guidance and wisdom in meeting the responsibility 
which the issues of the war had thrust upon him. He said he 
came out of that room with a clear conviction of what his duty 
was and from that time he pursued the policy which had been 
revealed to him and was followed by all the departments of 
the government. 

You will pardon me, my brother, if I have spoken impulsively, 
but I am always profoundly moved when the appeal is made to 
prayer. When I consider now the united prayer of our great 
churches, or of all our Christian people, I am reminded that 
Jesus said to his disciples, "If two of you shall agree on earth 
as touching anything they shall ask, it shall be done for them of 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 529 

my Father which is in heaven, for where two or three are gath- 
ered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." 

When fifty-eight commissions were represented at that great 
meeting in the Garden City Hotel at Long Island a few weeks 
ago, and the question of the unity of all branches of the Chris- 
tian Church was under consideration, the most inspiring and 
helpful hour during all the proceedings of the conference was 
when we were united to pray. 

As I looked over this program after hearing this paper read, 
I said to myself, "Would it not have been a fitting thing to have 
an hour set apart at some time during this conference when we 
could have engaged in prayer ourselves ? Would it not have been 
a proper example to set before all these churches, upon whom we 
are now calling to pray?" 

I am ready to sign my name to that paper with all the forty 
or more members of this conference and let it go forth from us 
as individuals only, or to sign it as a representative of my church. 
There never can be any presumption in calling upon men to 
pray. And surely there never was an hour when not only all 
Methodist churches but all Christian churches should unite to 
pray — pray for not only the unity of the churches but for the 
troubled country and other countries more troubled than our 
own. Never were the statesmen of this country more at sea than 
in these very uncertain times. The President of the United 
States, much as I honor him, I must say does not seem to be 
clear in his convictions as to what plans he should bring to the 
consideration of Congress. I have never favored any form of 
union of the state and church. But I was never more than now 
convinced that it is the duty of the church to lead the state, not 
by any assumption of temporal power, but by instruction in 
righteousness under spiritual influence. 

We are here, if only in our individual capacities, so related 
to the great churches which represent one third of the entire 
population of the United States that we not only hope our words 
will have some weight with our respective churches, but with 
the great country that is looking to Methodism for leadership in 



530 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

religious influence. May we not then in this trying time call on 
the members in our churches, the adherents as well, indeed, on 
the praying people in all churches and out of all churches, to 
pray with faith for a unity of purpose and interest in an unself- 
ish cooperation for the peace and salvation of the world ? 



MEANING OF TERM "ORGANIC UNION" 
Bishop Denny 

Just two points I want to impress. One of my points that 
was touched upon relates to a personal difficulty. All my mature 
life I have had great difficulty in the analysis and clearance of 
terms — that is, the difficulty to make the analysis and to reach 
the needed clearness. 

We have spoken, and the term is on our program, of "organic" 
union. I think I know what an organism is. Immanuel Kant 
taught me that, if I did not know it otherwise. An organism 
is a system in which every part is mutually means and end. 
"Organic" is just the adjective of that noun. When we say 
"organic union," are we really thinking of a union in which 
every part is mutually means and end ? Possibly so, although I 
am not always able to gather that as the meaning of the men 
who use the term. 

What do we mean by the differentiating term "organic"? 
You might say, "Why trouble yourself with that?" Well, it 
does trouble me, for my mind gets into a whirl, and I move in 
a fog, and I make no progress, unless I am able to determine 
what is covered by the descriptive terms that we propose to use 
in the discussion of any matter. 

I should be very much obliged personally to any brother who 
will make that clear to me. This is in no sense a criticism of 
anyone; it is an honest statement of a difficulty. I have fre- 
quently asked those who have spoken so constantly, what is the 
significance of the differentiating term, speaking in logical 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 531 

terminology. That is one of the points I wanted to touch. I 
hope I have touched it. 

The other point is (and I have no sensitiveness on this matter 
at all — what I have thrown out, if it cannot swim, of course it 
is going to sink; I understand that), when I spoke I used one 
sentence, so far as I can recall, in which I referred to the mar- 
riage relation. 

I say I am not at all sensitive at the criticism of my opinions 
when I utter them. I cannot throw them out and claim at the 
same time to exercise any control over the reception that they 
are to have from the brethren. Every analogy is grounded on 
similarities of cases or qualities. An analogy does not mean that 
the cases have all qualities in common. In that case it would be 
approaching simply toward an identity. When we speak of 
union, isn't it quite natural that we should also recall that there 
is a union which touches, if my conception be worthy of con- 
sideration, everything human and divine? That is what mar- 
riage means to me. I do not propose to go into the discussion 
of that view. Waive the future relationship that in the provi- 
dence of God may obtain. What a blessing it has been to any 
man to walk through life with the understanding that the lovely 
and loved girl who stood by his side when she was just a girl, 
and he, perhaps, was just about a boy, united everything as they 
understood it, in time and eternity. God only knows what any 
of us should have been without the help of our wives. Now, 
brethren, isn't it this — a bond that we propose to tie between two 
separate parts? Perhaps I have a little more than touched that 
point. I just wanted to touch the point. 

Now for the surface to which I referred. You know, brethren, 
this mirror that some of you brethren from the North are hold- 
ing up before us — I declare I did not know that we were so good 
looking. I would not recognize myself, or my Southern brethren. 
As a matter of fact, I did not know that we had some of these 
qualities, and I am just a little afraid you have been suffering 
from strabismus, otherwise I am going back home suffering 
from myopia. 



532 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

Now just a little more seriously, brethren, and my mind 
always tends that way. Let us be careful, you and I ; let us be 
careful, when we put a man in a position, weighting him with 
tremendous responsibility, that we do not object to the fact that 
he is influential. Why did we put him there unless you and 
I thought he would be influential iu the position ? Is it the pur- 
pose of the government or church to put a man in any position 
in which his influence should be minimized and reduced — to 
evaporate him ? My grandfather worked in the Annual Confer- 
ence that covered this territory. He was a colleague of William 
McKendree. I remember the dear old man. He was the best 
man I ever knew, in my partial judgment. He died when he was 
nearly ninety-six. He taught me, in harmony with what I 
learned from father and mother at home, to believe that in effi- 
ciency for spreading the gospel Methodism had no superior and 
few equals, perhaps no equals. When I came into its ministry, 
brethren, there was not a suspicion in my whole nature toward 
anything that belonged distinctly to Methodism. I never had to 
lower my self-respect at any point along the journey that I have 
thus far come, and God forbid that I should be in myself a 
truckler to any man. I do not believe I could. I should not 
suffer a truckler toward myself if I knew it. Personality as 
represented in us or in others is too high. I just wanted to touch 
that, brethren. 

THE PROBLEM ON THE HOME FIELD 

Bishop Cranston 

Mr. Chairman, just a minute please. I shall be leaving 
about the middle of the afternoon and I want to say two or three 
things before I separate myself from this most delightful com- 
pany of brethren. I don't know what hand, what mind may have 
controlled in the creation of this program, but I have been 
wondering as I have heard the papers if any man would question 
me, should I say that God, by His Holy Spirit, had directly to 
do with the creation of that program in the choice of topics and 



UNION OP AMERICAN METHODISM 533 

in the assignment of men to those several subjects. I have been 
afraid of late that it was becoming a little perilous to a man's 
reputation for modernism and progressivism to intimate that 
any man might know the mind of God assuredly enough to per- 
mit him to-day to act as his guide in judgment as well as in con- 
duct. 

I hope the day will never come when Methodist preachers or 
Methodist people will question that old teaching that God has 
to do directly with individual minds as he does in the con- 
version of individual souls. And I am standing on that plat- 
form, and I want to recognize the Divine hand in the prepara- 
tion of this program, the Divine suggestions to the temporal 
mind intrusted with it, and then to express my further belief 
that these men have been severally guided in the presentation 
of their addresses as presented here. And that I speak of because 
it is an expression of what we are to expect as we go forward in 
the spirit in which these men have met their tasks and in which 
those who have heard have received the several messages that 
have been given. 

I said to Dr. Harris this morning that if the John Lindgren 
Foundation should never be heard from again, it has justified 
itself, and it has been intimated to me that God had a hand in 
the touching of the mind of that man from abroad — he was a 
Swede, I think — and leaving after him the honor to be repre- 
sented by this foundation in the promulgating of spiritual peace 
and organic unity between the two great representative bodies 
of which he must by God's teaching have accepted one as the 
guide of his life. 

So much for that. I was greatly interested yesterday after- 
noon in Dr. Spencer's figures in his chart. It was surprising, 
I confess myself, to observe the very limited area in which those 
two episcopal Methodisms are in conflict, and at first it seemed 
to me we had been making a great deal out of a little until I 
remembered that the battle yonder in France to-day is a very 
narrow strip, but the men in the trenches and behind the guns 
are fighting the battles of empires and determining the issues 



534 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

of terrestrial questions. And while we have not a great deal 
of fighting territory, yet behind the lines are the great churches 
that are now seeking in the presence of God to reach conditions 
of peace and of brotherly cooperation of redeemed and illumined 
souls in the carrying forward of the work. 

I suppose that a fight will attract more attention than almost 
any other one kind of entertainment offered by our foreign 
nations to humanity. People will turn to a fight when they will 
not go to a fire. A fight in one corner of a community will 
secure more attention and perhaps create more gossip than 500 
families in the community that are living at peace. We have 
that to reckon with. And knowing this Brother Spencer's figures 
suggest that when your family fight spreads, you do not call il 
any longer a fight; after it shall have enlisted the entire com- 
munity, it becomes a riot, and a riot proceeds without much 
regularity. 

I think we have demonstrated in our experience that tradi- 
tions between churches do not always regulate the conduct of th< 
representatives of the churches. We have not come to a riot 
but, Brother Spencer, if those little areas, two per cent and foui 
per cent and eight per cent, should be extended by the inereas< 
of the irritation, don't you see we would have a riot by and by 
We do not want that, you know. We cannot afford as churches 
to carry this difficulty of ours, this entertainment of ours, for i 
does seem as though some people are entertained by it ; we canno 
get some folks away from what was carried on seventy years ago 
You cannot get them to talk about the question of unificatioi 
without beginning there in 1844. 

Just one other thing, and then I am going to let somebody els 
talk. Dr. Spencer's chart showed us how little we have achieve< 
away from home — two per cent, four per cent, eight per cent, am 
the highest, as I remember, fourteen per cent. We are reall 
working together. Why, brethren, it is insignificant. I read 
statement the other day by a man in a very high station in one o 
our churches, who had been himself on the firing line for fou 
vears in the civil war between these two churches. He declare* 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 535 

under his own signature his conviction that our fifty years of 
work in the South, our influence socially and morally, as far as 
it affected politics and commercial integrity, could all be compre- 
hended in the one word nil. 

Now, brethren, consider these figures of our work down South 
as shown in the chart yesterday, and the figures representing the 
work of our brethren from the South here in the North ; if they 
are telling the story, and we cannot question it, of the result of 
the relations of these two churches, I want to know if it has been 
really worth our while? Bishop McConnell said something in 
his paper about certain kinds of controversy not being dignified. 
If you can find anything dignified, brethren, or anything that 
deserves the blessing of God in the attitude of these two Meth- 
odisms as they appear to the world to-day, you can find more 
than I can. 

Now the last thought. The Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, had the whole field for one hundred years before we went 
there. We went there, whether right or wrong, after the war. 
At that time I do not wonder we went there, and after we got 
there, in view of all the psychological conditions, I do not wonder 
why we stayed there. But here is what I want to say, that the 
Church South had the whole field one hundred years, and we 
have been there fifty years with the result that you saw on the 
charts yesterday. 

I don't know how long the Church South has been up here 
in the Northwest, about forty-five years I imagine, but those 
figures shown on the chart yesterday prompt this practical ques- 
tion: While we are conducting these negotiations, while we are 
trying before God to get together to begin to uplift as loyal saints 
of Wesley, is there anything in our experience of the past to 
justify a single movement of an aggressive character by either 
one of these churches, administrative or in any other way, that 
shall tend to change or increase the irritation from which the 
churches have so long suffered? My thought is that it would 
be wicked for either of these churches to be trying to take an 
advantage or gain a strategic point when the advantages are of 



536 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

so little importance. That is the way it all sums itself up to me, 
and I do hope that the General Conference which meets in May, 
if it is necessary, will positively instruct our men to stand still, 
and let there be a truce all along our lines while God works the 
consummation of this which seems to me is the most divinely 
appointed mission of Methodism or any church in this century of 
centuries that is to tell on the ages for the world's return to God 
through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Edgar Blake 

Many months ago I began to investigate this subject of dupli- 
cation of efforts in the field on the part of the two white epis- 
copal Methodisms. I made as careful a study as I could of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and of that territory out- 
side of the South. I also sent out a letter to all the pastors serv- 
ing territory in the far Southern territory and border area to 
find out those facts. Now I was delighted to find that my in- 
vestigations and the result of my questions, responses of which I 
received from more than seven hundred of our pastors, coincided 
almost exactly with the investigation my friend Dr. Spencer 
had made. 

I want, however, to carry the result of this investigation just 
a step farther, if you please, than my brother Dr. Spencer carried 
it. I call your attention to these facts first; that twenty-foui 
per cent of the Methodist Episcopal churches located in the 
border areas, so called, are located in communities where tht 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, is also located. Thirty - 
three and eight-tenths per cent of all the Methodist Episcopal 
churches in the far Southern area are found to be located in com- 
munities in which the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, h 
also located and at work. 

More than forty per cent of all the Methodist Episcopa 
Churches, South, in territories outside of the South are locatec 
in communities where Methodist Episcopal churches are locatec 
and at work. On the basis of these percentages, I think it i; 
fair to say that these two branches of Methodist Episcopalian 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 537 

ism have more than ten million dollars invested in competitive 
church property in the same communities and are spending over 
three fourths million dollars annually for the support of pastors 
and district supervision of churches that compete with each 
other in the same communities. 

Now I want to suggest to the company, Mr. Chairman, that 
in forming the basis of this paper in the light of the tremendous 
need of the home field and foreign field, I can but say that any 
continuance of this expenditure of funds and efforts is not only 
unwise but unnecessary and unkind in the faith of the great Cod 
and great good cause of Christ. 

I was surprised to find that eighty-nine per cent of our pastors 
in the border reported that work could be carried on more suc- 
cessfully by one church than now carried on by two. Nine per 
cent were negative, two per cent were non-committal. Now, in 
the light of these facts, it does seem to me that a time has come 
now to set ourselves to the resolute discussion of some ways and 
some means and some plan by which we can unite our common 
interests. 

COMPARATIVE VALUES OF FEDERATION AND 

ORGANIC UNION 

S. D. Chown 

I just want to say this, the important question before us is 
the comparative values of federation and organic union. I speak 
for a minute out of the experience of a great many years trying 
to work federation. Our work, so far as federation is concerned, 
manifestly is in the way of readjustment to prevent overlapping, 
and we have run that word throughout the whole of our north- 
western part of Canada. In one province alone in five years we 
readjusted work in 650 localities. That seems a very pleasant 
and prosperous thing to do. But 1 say this, as a result of these 
years of experience where federation does not succeed, it creates 
an enormous amount of irritation and friction. Where it does 



538 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

succeed it always prevents the consummation of union. So thai 
if this body feels that the ultimate idea should be union, I 
think that the more rapidly you move toward consummation 
would be better, and the less trouble you have in respect to the 
matters of federation. 

I want to say also that I have a joy in my heart from asso- 
ciation with the brethren here. In one of my early trips as I 
was passing along the banks of that beautiful St. Lawrence River. 
I thought of the tragic things in American Methodism that per- 
plexed me, and of that heroic past of Barbara Heck so many 
years ago. We have come to the realization that our Methodism, 
and particularly in that part of the country where I now live, 
was planted by the Geneseo Conference — and I had the pleasure 
of addressing that Conference a short time ago in the celebration 
of the one hundred years past. I tender the thanks of my heart 
to you that I have been invited to come to this Conference. I 
thank you in the name of the great church I represent, and so 
far as I can see now we shall remain Methodists for a long time 
to come. 

SIGNS OF PROMISE 

Bishop Hendrix 

Me. Chairman, will you permit a closing word. The surest 
proof of the approach to land of a sailor is the gathering of the 
dew on the ship. Ships far away out at sea never gather dew. 
but one of the sure signs that land is near is the dew gathered 
on the rigging and the sails and masts. It is an unmistakable 
sign. The sailor may have been going by dead reckoning, but 
as he studies the humidity of the atmosphere, he becomes con- 
scious of the approaching land even before the presence of the 
day. 

You know the psalmist recognized that as the best sign in 
his own community where he says, "Like the dew on Hermon." 
There are no rains in Palestine much of the year, and everything 
depends upon the dew upon Hermon. It is so profuse as it 



UNION OF AMERICAN METHODISM 539 

comes down that it serves almost as a perpetual addition to the 
productiveness of the soil, and so when he uses that wonderful 
statement, "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to 
dwell together in unity," he uses no figure of emptiness of speech. 
"It is like the anointing oil upon Aaron's beard, so profuse it 
ran down to the garments, to the borders of the garments; like 
the dew upon Hermon that came down in such abundance that 
they were refreshed." I have been watching the dew-point. 
Land is near ! Land is near ! 

W F. Sheridan 

Me. Chairman: I would like to say one thing on this floor. 
I have not any doubt, Mr. Chairman, but that all the gentlemen 
feel, as the Master said, "that they have many things that 
they would gladly say unto you, but they cannot say them 
now," but I do not want to direct this one sentence as applicable 
to the situation that exists now. Last year, or perhaps it was 
year before last, I had a conversation with Mr. William Jennings 
Bryan here in Chicago, in which he told me this rather interest- 
ing fact, that at the hour when criticism was most acute between 
our own government and that of Japan, as he gave to Baron 
Chynda, (who, by the way, is a Methodist — I talked to him not 
long ago, and he said, "Yes, Dr. Sheridan, I still hold my mem- 
bership back in the Methodist Church at Parasahara, Japan, 
where I belonged before I came to this country/') — as he handed 
Baron Chynda the note, after an exchange of that note between 
our country and Japan, Baron Chynda said, "Mr. Bryan, is this 
final ?" And Mr. Bryan said, in reply : "Baron Chynda, nothing 
is ever final between friends." Baron Chynda telegraphed or 
cabled that message to the Mikado, and, as you know, amicable 
relations were finally secured. Now, Mr. Chairman, I don't 
know that any of us know how much we have succeeded toward 
our great objective, the union of the churches. We may fail 
to-day, we may fail to-morrow, but I am sure it is in the heart 
of all of us to say, "Nothing is final between friends if it is in 
our hearts to get together." 



540 A WORKING CONFERENCE ON THE 

REMARKS OF DR. C. B. SPENCER DURING THE CLOS- 
ING SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE 

Mr. Chairman: My great and good friend Dr. Moore has 
referred several times to me by name, and to the little book I 
wrote in an effort to get in behind this proposed plan, and its 
implications. I have too many friends in the Church South, 
and have been treated too royally in four of its General Confer- 
ences, to make a careless charge, even if there were no Ten 
Commandments containing a stricture on bearing false witness. 
I will say, therefore, to my dear brother, that it was my purpose 
to send a "round robin" letter to every delegate in the Oklahoma 
City General Conference which adopted this plan, and ask him 
what he understood he was voting for when he voted for a tri- 
section of this country into three quadrennial areas or confer- 
ences; but I received the information from what I consider the 
highest authority that the tri-section was intended to mean such 
a division as would include in one area the Old South, in another 
the Old North, and in the third, the Great West. With that I 
proceeded in my survey. And, for that matter, you will observe, 
if I heard him correctly, Mr. Chairman, that my brother him- 
self divides the country into substantially the same areas, except 
that he puts the Chur